CLINT BOWYER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 07 BB&T IMPALA SS, met with media members at Richmond International Raceway and talked about racing at Richmond, the new surface at Darlington, burnouts and much more. ON THE EFFECT THE NEW PAVEMENT AT DARLINGTON...
CLINT BOWYER, DRIVER OF THE NO. 07 BB&T IMPALA SS, met with media members at Richmond International Raceway and talked about racing at Richmond, the new surface at Darlington, burnouts and much more.
ON THE EFFECT THE NEW PAVEMENT AT DARLINGTON WILL HAVE. "Only time will tell. There's only a couple of us that went down there for the tire test. We'll just have to see. Looking forward to it, everybody loves going to Darlington. There's so much history behind that place. I'm anxious to get there and see how the new pavement is."
DO YOU EXPECT ANY KIND OF TIRE PROBLEM OR IS IT REALLY HARD TO GAGE WITH THE LIMITED TESTING YOU GUYS HAVE DONE? "I don't expect a tire problem. I know there's (Jeff) Gordon and (Greg) Biffle and I don't know who else went down there to tire test, but I'm sure they picked a good one for us."
ON COMING BACK TO A SHORT TRACK LIKE RICHMOND. "I love Richmond. I don't think there's anybody in the garage that doesn't like Richmond. I mean this is one of my favorite race tracks to race on. It always makes for a good race. Any time it's good for you to watch on T.V. it's good for us to race."
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE KIND OF RACE WE'RE GONNA HAVE TOMORROW NIGHT? "I think it will be good. I think the race was good in the fall race. I'm excited about it. This track always breeds a good race. This place is made for racing. It's just a neat race track and our car is decent. Everybody's kind of slipping and sliding around right now. Obviously when the track cools off it will probably tighten up a little bit, it always seems to in the race. Hopefully we will be able to turn."
HOW MUCH OF A KEY IS TRACK POSITION GOING TO BE? "It's still a short track. It's no different than any place else. Track position is everything and being able to keep that track position, so hopefully we can get it and keep it."
WHEN YOU GUYS GO TO THE TEST ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY, WHAT SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? "I'm only going Monday. My personal opinion is it's kind of a wasted test, waste of money. I think we could have gotten along fine without it. With this car, you're just so limited to big things, big changes. It's just not that big change you're gonna make and make or break your car as far as speed wise. It's all about fine tuning and find the little things and massaging what you have."
WHEN YOU GO TO A TEST OR GO TO A PRACTICE LIKE TODAY DO YOU GO WITH A SET UP BASED ON WHAT THE SIM SYSTEM TOLD YOU? "You know, I mean obviously from the past, we've been there. Aside from that it's gonna be like you said what we get from that test, the sim program stuff like that is what you'll use.
"You'll go through the travels, you'll find the right springs to make it travel the way you want. Nine times out of 10 you're pretty close."
WHEN YOU DO SOMETHING TO FINE TUNE THE CAR AND YOU GO BACK OUT TO MAKE A RUN, IS IT SO FINE YOU CAN'T FEEL THE DIFFERENCE AT TIMES? "For instance here I think for us, I talked to my teammate, both teammates, you fight in the center and then when you loosen it up to get it freed up and roll through the center freely, then it's too loose in and too loose off. It just kind of seems like there's always a trend no matter what track as far as front to rear grip and balancing that out."
DOES STUFF FROM LAST FALL CARRY TO THE SPRING HERE? "Absolutely. Obviously we've ventured out and tried some things and kind of fell right back to what we had in the fall race. You're always fine tuning, you're always looking for a little bit more. What was good in the fall won't always be good -- it doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be good the next time around."
WHAT OTHER QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE LOOKING INTO NEXT WEEK GOING TO DARLINGTON WITH THE NEW TRACK SURFACE? "That was the one that really didn't make sense. We have a new surface with Darlington and we didn't go down there and test, we're going to Charlotte to test. I guess Humpy is a better salesman or something. It's gonna be the same for most, I think a couple of them have been there. They say it's fast and I'm excited about getting down there. Darlington is always a fun track. Everybody likes going there. Everybody likes racing on it, it's just gonna be a little bit faster this time."
ON WHAT HE THINKS IS A THE PERFECT LENGTH FOR A CUP RACE. "The Nationwide race. I don't think the promoters would like that much but I think that's about the perfect length. It's getting too drawn out. I think when they get drawn out like that, pit strategy and things like that come more and more. You're able to put two tires on or do something there. You could run 30th all day long, we've done it, running 20 to 25th all day long make a good gable in the pits and end up with a top-10 maybe even a top-five. That's not fair to the guys that have a good run that day."
DO YOU THINK THAT MAYBE FANS WOULD BE INTERESTED IN A SHORTER RACE? "I think the 600, I think that's just too much to ask for our fans. It's too much. I remember when I used to live down on the lake I went over to (Ron) Hornaday's house one time. We ate dinner, went out on the boat, road around for a while, came back, ate some more, hung around and it was still going on. That's a tall order to ask for anybody, driver, fan or anybody."
DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT IS THE MADDEST YOU HAVE EVER BEEN IN A CAR? "I get mad a lot. No different than you on the highway. If you went out and crashed everybody on the highway you probably wouldn't have a license. If we crashed them every time we got mad out here on the race track, we'd probably be asked not to come back."
HOW DO YOU MANAGE IT? "You got to look at the big picture. If somebody gets into you or ruffles you up a little bit, you got to be smarter than to get upset and know what the big picture is and that's to finish at the end of the day. That's something I've learned over the years."
TALKING ABOUT THE LENGTH OF RACES AND THE 600, DO YOU JUST HIT THE WALL AT SOME POINT? NOT LITERALLY, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. "I have there, quite a bit a Charlotte actually (laughing). Hopefully not this time. No, it will wear you out but it's just long. It's no different sitting in the stands and watching cars go around in circles. There's a lot more to NASCAR other than going around in circles and I think that's the neatest thing as a new fan or whatever else, they see that and that's what attracts them to NASCAR. The strategies, the way the races play out and things. It's still too much of it there but hey Humpy's always been different and he'll continue to be different."
DO YOU PREPARE YOURSELF ANY DIFFERENT FOR THAT TYPE OF ENDURANCE TEST OR IS IT THE SAME? "Same thing, just longer."
ON HOW COMPETITIVE AND HOW HARD IT IS TO WIN AND HOW GOOD THE GUYS WHO HAVE WON HAVE BEEN SO FAR THIS YEAR. "I think there's, Carl (Edwards), obviously awesome race car driver but they obviously have something figured out that nobody else did. They've won on every 1.5-mile track or should have won you know what I mean. They've just figured something out, they hit on a little something and everybody's working hard to catch up to that. Aside from that, the whole playing field is pretty even right now and it is hard to win and when you do it's big."
ON HOW A DRIVER WANTS TO EARN THAT FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON AND HOW MUCH PRESSURE THERE IS AS THE YEAR WEARS ON. "You want to win every time you go out there. I've learned it hard. When you grow up racing on the short tracks and things back home you race to win every night. You wanted to win, you didn't care about points, you didn't care about the championship. If you won every week you were going to win the championship any way. It's easiest if you don't anymore because nobody does. It's all about that big picture. It's all about being in the Chase. You know I made the Chase last year and that was satisfying, it really was, PAGE 22
'To be able to go to New York and the banquet was awesome. All the hype that goes around the Chase, that's where everybody in this garage wants to be and we got to continue to go down that path and look to that. You can take gambles to win these races and end up costing you a heck of a lot more. My spotter, he told me a couple of weeks ago, I was about to wreck and he goes you better be careful that position in front of you is five points. That mistake is gonna cost you 105. That's the way you got to look at it sometimes. Right now this point in the season you just got to accumulate all the points you can, obviously winning races does that but you can't take that 100 point hit right now."
WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES A GOOD BURNOUT? IN YOUR MIND WHAT'S THE CRITERIA FOR IT? "I don't know. I think having your own unique deal. Kevin Harvick kind of acquired John Force's nephew or something, what he looked like out there going straight and doing burnouts all the way down the straightaway. Kyle Busch kind of does rings and stuff and gets out and does something different. I just think being unique. You know Carl (Edwards) does a back flip and that sets him aside from everybody else. Nobody wants the same thing. You thrive to be different in everyday life everybody wants that. It's kind of running out of options."
DESCRIBE IN A SIMPLE WAY TO FANS ON HOW DO YOU DO A BURNOUT. "Let her eat. More throttle, less brake (laughing). Obviously you need to try to adjust some front brake in to pull the rear brake out of it and ride the brakes and control the throttle. If you give it too much throttle they tend to want to spin out and not continue to go straight. Just kind of keep it going. I've got to win more races so I can get more practice."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW THE TRACK IS OUT THERE, DURING THAT FIRST SESSION? "It was a little slick. It's a little bit different than what we anticipated. Last year the car felt a little more on top of the track. The same for everybody. When it cools off it always gains a little more grip and makes for better racing."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW TOUGH IT IS TO GET TO VICTORY LANE, NOT JUSTHAVING THE BEST CAR, HAVING A LITTLE LUCK? "Everything has to be 100 percent perfect anymore to win these races and if it's not, anything shy of that you're not gonna win. It takes 100 percent race car and 100 percent driver. Everything, all the pieces have to fall in place. I feel like even this year already there's been teams that have hit on something and just had a little bit more than everybody else. But it's up to everybody else to figure out what they were doing and using that call and be better."
EVERYBODY'S EARS KIND OF PERKED UP WHEN THEY HEARD SOMETHING THAT DID WORK OR DIDN'T WORK. DO YOU ALWAYS TRY TO LISTEN IN MAYBE TRY TO CLING TO SLIGHTEST BIT OF INFORMTION ON A SET UP? "You won't be able to overhear anybody, you just got to try to figure out what they're doing. The main thing is you have to focus on what you're doing. You can't get caught up in all that, he said stuff. You know, I heard this and these guys are doing that. That's never worked, never in my career racing. You just got to continue to go down your path, learn, and if somebody's beating you work hard and go back to the shop and try to learn new things, get new ideas, test and figure it out and get out there."
YOU WERE INVOLVED IN THE TEXT MESSAGING PROGRAM YESTERDAY, ARE YOU A TEXTER? "Yeah. I don't do a lot, but occasionally something that is a quick text is a lot easier than making a phone call."