CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the hazards & strategies of racing at Talladega, working with teammates, Phoenix, and more. ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: "I'm looking forward to it. Just about anything can happen;...
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 BB&T CHEVROLET met with media and discussed the hazards & strategies of racing at Talladega, working with teammates, Phoenix, and more.
ON RACING AT TALLADEGA: "I'm looking forward to it. Just about anything can happen; you've just got to play your cards right. You know, you have to have a little bit of luck on your side too. You've got to be able to put yourself in position and have a car that can do that. But the right things have to move your way and the right door has to open for you to be able to win this race. But certainly the guys in the shop have given us a lot more opportunities to have in that door open with the engine program that we have at ECR and then the hard work and dedication they put in our chassis. It's a fun race; a long race. Like I said, it all comes down to those last 50 laps."
IF EVERYBODY DECIDES TO RIDE IN THE BACK, WHAT'T IT GOING TO LOOK LIKE ON SUNDAY? "It would be an interesting race if everybody was racing for dead last (laughs). But I don't know. You're not going to have everybody doing that. Everybody is on a different scenario. You've always got teams that have a lot to lose in this Chase and in this scenario and probably should go to the back and try to stay out of trouble as much as they can until it's time. Then you've got other guys who haven't led many laps this year; haven't won a race this year and there are several of them; even myself. I'm part of the Chase and I've won a race but I still need to win another race before the end of the year and don't have anything to lose. So you're going to have plenty of exciting racing and three-wide racing up at the front all day long."
YOU'VE ALREADY GIVEN KEVIN HARVICK YOUR PIT CREW AND YOU WORKED TOGETHER A LOT AT DAYTONA IN JULY. DOES YOUR ROLE IN SUPPRT OF KEVIN INCLUDE GOING OUT AND HELPING HIM IN THE DRAFT ON SUNDAY OR ARE YOU OUT TO WIN THE RACE YOURSELF? "You're always out to win a race. If there are things I can do to help him, we're going to try to work together. You owe it to everybody that's involved at RCR to do that. And nine times out of 10, that package together is going to work good. All three of us need to try to hook up and work together but all three of us are on a little bit different scenario. Kevin has a lot to lose right here at this race track and this is certainly a track where he can or more importantly, lose a lot of ground in his position. It just depends on if we can get hooked up, yeah we're going to work together; if not, you've got to be able to put the BB&T up front and hopefully win the race for them."
WE HAD ONE OF THE BEST TALLADEGA RACES EVER LAST SPRING. HOW DOES THIS BEING A CHASE RACE VERSUS A NON-CHASE RACE CHANGE STRATEGY? "You're not going to have a good points race until the end of the race. Right now that's what you guys are following so it's probably going to be harder for you guys to say it's a good race, but you can't take your eye off the product. And it's going to be a great race. It's not going to be your big names that are racing for a championship leading and beating and banging on each other for every lap led. I think there are just going to be new faces up there. There are a lot of cars that are fast and there's going to be two and three-wide, more importantly three-wide racing and that's what this place breeds and is always going to have."
IS THIS A PLACE WHERE TEAMS CAN STRATEGIZE? IS THAT POSSIBLE? COULD SAY ALL OF TOYOTA WORK TOGETHER TO FAVOR DENNY HAMLIN? "I guess if they wrecked everybody he could win the race. There is just so much you can do. You have to realize there are a lot of cars out there. You're three and four-wide and it's harder than you think to get in position to where you can help that guy. And if it's going to hurt you to help him, he's going to have momentum and you're not going to be able to get behind him anyway. If you're coming up on him with a head of steam and you've got help behind you, you can't slam on the brakes and get behind him because they're going to run over you and you're going to wreck everybody; maybe even him. So if you can get in position to help, you need to do that. And if you can't, you can't. There is nothing you can do much more than that."
FOLLOWING UP ON THAT, THERE HAS BEEN THIS TWO-CAR BREAKAWAY THING THE PAST COUPLE OF YEARS. HAVE YOU SEEN ANY IMPACT OF THAT AND MIGHT THAT COME INTO PLAY WITH THE CHASE GUYS TO FIND ONE PERSON TO HOOK UP WITH, THAT MIGHT BE THE KEY TO GETTING IN THE FRONT? "Yeah, certainly; but I think everybody has learned from that and everybody is going to be trying to do that and the more people that are able to do that, it's going to probably make it not as important and stand out as much as it did in the spring, but I think certainly you're going to see that. We've been talking about it. I mean everybody has been talking it. Everybody watched that happen in the spring and was successful so you'd be a fool not to try that and experience that and see what you can get away with. But again, that right scenario has to happen again and at a place like this history doesn't repeat itself.
"That same door doesn't open with 10 to go as it did in the spring race and so forth and so on. In the spring race, Kevin (Harvick) and I were back there riding around and we each had a lap where we thought we could get to the front. His was 50 and mine was 30 and I just waited too long. He went up and won the race and I don't even know where I finished. But we got up there; we just didn't get up there far enough. I wasn't in position when I needed to be. So, it's just one of those things."
LAST WEEK (MARTINSVILLE) WE SAW YOU GIVE YOUR PIT CREW OVER TO KEVIN HARVICK. IT DIDN'T SEEM LIKE YOU WERE TERRIBLY HAPPY WITH THAT. YOU SAID IT WAS ALMOST LIKE KEVIN WAS TURNING HIS BACK ON THE PIT CREW. AND THEN DURING THE RACE WE SAW KEVIN AND JEFF BURTON GO AT IT AND HAVE WORDS OVER THE RADIO. AT RCR NOW, IS IT ALL ABOUT HARVICK WINNING THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND IT'S ALMOST LIKE A SENSE OF URGENCY IN HIS POSITION BEHIND JOHNSON AND HAMLIN? "Oh, there is definitely a sense of urgency (laughs); there is no question there's a sense of urgency. He's trying to play catch-up and run a guys that's just won four championships (Jimmie Johnson) in a row down and knows how to do it and doesn't make mistakes. There is definitely a sense of urgency. We're trying everything we can do to win a championship at RCR. Jeff (Burton) was trying everything he could do to win a race and if I would have been up there I would have been trying everything I could do. That's just Martinsville. You've got to realize that. We've seen Jeff (Gordon) and Jimmie beat and bang on each other and get very frustrated with one another. It's just part of close-quartered racing at Martinsville and it just so happens to be your teammate. I don't think it had anything to do with him racing for a championship or anything else. It's just the nature of the beast at Martinsville."
DO YOU KNOW IF THEY'VE GOTTEN TOGETHER AFTERWARDS AND TALKED ABOUT THAT HAPPENED? WHAT'S THE FEELING IN THE SHOP ABOUT GOING FORWARD? IS THERE TENSION? "Heck; I don't know, man. You're writing a story (laughs); you know more about what we're doing than we do most of the time. I screwed up and wrecked last weekend, that's what I know, and had a miserable week because of it. I'm just trying to get to the end of this thing and hopefully have some good runs for my sponsors and patch things together as much as I can before the end of the year so we can start the year off strong next year."
WHAT'S IT LIKE TO BE INSIDE THE CAR DURING ONE OF THESE BIG WRECKS? "That is the exact moment when you don't want to be in the car anymore (laughs). It sucks. All hell breaks loose and you just cringe and hold on and it hurts. You hit hard and you bounce around and finally come to a stop and think like what the hell just happened, you know? (laughs) But it's just one of those things that makes the fans come from all over to be at a place like this and to see that spectacle and we owe it to them to go out there and put on a show for them."
DO YOU EVER GET THE SENSE THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO START ONCE IT STARTS? "I've had the throttle stick and break brake rotors and yeah, I did have that sense once. It was stuck wide open and the brake pedal went to the floor and I was like, this is interesting."
ON LOOKING AHEAD TO PHONEIX "Well, my immediate thoughts were I just wrecked the Phoenix car at Martinsville so that wasn't much fun. We're going to have to bring the next best thing. But Phoenix is a great race track for me; it's where I got my start in the Cup series and we've always run well out there. Again, this is a track; I get (crew chief) Shane (Wilson) back (from suspension); life will be back to normal as close to it as possible and hopefully this is a place where we can win another race before the end of the year."
WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE HERE IF THEY GAVE POINTS FOR EVERY LAP LED AND YOU GOT AN EXTRA POINT EVERY TIME YOU LED A LAP HERE? "Well, you'd be talking about a points race all day long I would say. But It's still hard to stay up front all day long and be able to put yourself in that position time after time. Every time you get up there to the point, you've had to make a close call and go for it so to speak and you can only get away with that so many times before it bites you. If that was the case and you're racing for points like that, you're probably going to have that big one happen a lot sooner and a lot bigger I would say (laughs)."
IF YOU COULD PUT SOME PERCENTAGE ON IT, WHEN YOU'RE IN ONE OF THESE RACES, HOW MUCH TO YOU BELIEVE THAT WHAT YOU DO CONTRIBUTES TO THE OUTCOME OF THIS RACE COMPARED TO WHAT OTHERS DO? AS A DRIVER, IS IT DIFFICULT TO GRASP THE FACT THAT YOU CAN POSSIBLY DO EVERYTHING PERFECT AND STILL NOT COME OUT WITH A GOOD DAY? "Oh, absolutely. First and foremost, you've got to have a hot rod that can get the job done. If you have the steam under the hood and your car is fast enough to get the job done, you can go up there and put yourself in position to win the race. But you can do everything correct and everything perfect all day long and not come out of here with a win. We've seen it before. When they sling-shot by right there at the end and leave you out to dry; I mean if you were leading coming off of (Turn) 4 down to the checkered flag, if the checkered flag was in the tri-oval, a lot of races would be different.
"But it's not here. And that extra room on the front straightaway gives them a chance to get a run and get the thing back out and then they come back on your again. I've had it done to me. You come off in the lead off of (Turn) 4 with a two or three-car lead thinking you got 'em and if it was the tri-oval, you would have 'em. But they just have that extra track to run you back down and make a move on you and they come on you so fast, you can't block them. If you do, you're going to be stuck in the fence like Carl Edwards was."
AT THIS RACE LAST YEAR, FANS LIKE TO SAY IT WAS THE WORST TALLADEGA IN YEARS. FROM A DRIVER'S PERSPECTIVE, WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE RACE? "I don't even remember last year (laughs). I think NASCAR got to the point where they were policing it too much. It's something that's almost too difficult to police. Opening the thing back up and letting it kind of self-police I think was a good move. I think it's kind of taken care of a lot of things within the drivers. You still have great racing and don't really have to stick your nose in it or have to worry with that. This is definitely a self-policing place and I think it should be left within the driver's hands on the race track and I think that's where a lot of the good racing has come from; not only at Talladega, but all year long."
-source: gm racing