BUSCH: Daytona: Top three finishers press conference, part 1

An interview with: Tony Stewart Clint Bowyer Burney Lamar TRACEY JUDD: We apologize for the delay with our second and third place finishers today in the season opening NASCAR Busch Series Hershey's Kissables 300 here at Daytona. After the ...

An interview with:
Tony Stewart
Clint Bowyer
Burney Lamar

TRACEY JUDD: We apologize for the delay with our second and third place finishers today in the season opening NASCAR Busch Series Hershey's Kissables 300 here at Daytona. After the final caution, after some review, Burney Lamar, second place finisher. Clint Bowyer third place finisher.

CLINT BOWYER: Who was reviewing that (laughter)? Can I talk to them?

TRACEY JUDD: Kevin was. Burney Lamar, driver of the No. 77 Dollar General Chevrolet for Kevin Harvick, Inc., also the NASCAR Busch Series top finishing Raybestos rookie in his third NASCAR Busch Series start, and first start here at Daytona.

Clint Bowyer, the driver of the #2 AC Delco Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing, the runner up last year in the 2005 Busch Series championship.

Burney, talk about that run today.

BURNEY LAMAR: Actually, I was just happy to finish a Busch race. That was actually the first one I ever finished.

But I can't say enough for the team.  Kevin and DeLana put together a
championship contending team.  Gene Nead, our crew chief, Ted Musgrave's
crew chief last year.  I mean, like I said, it's just a top running
team.  If I can get to the level they're at, we'll have some success.


CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it was a struggle. Midway through that race, I flat spotted my tire trying to get slowed down for that crash in front of us halfway through the race, I don't know which one it was. The car got extremely tight. We tried to stay out with Junior and a handful of them that did. It was a big mistake. Got real, real tight, lost the draft. We was probably going to go a lap down and have to pit before too long. Got lucky with a caution. I knew if we could catch a caution, we had a fast car to go up through.

The AC Delco Chevrolet was really fast. I was proud of new crew chief, Dan Deeringhoff . He did a good job calling the race. We'll go after them in California.

TRACEY JUDD: Questions for Clint or Burney Lamar.

Q: No disrespect in this question I'm about to ask, but I think a lot of sane human beings sitting at home would look at that and go, "Why would these guys do that?" You came in here giggling, slapping high fives. Do y'all have a screw loose or are we missing something?

CLINT BOWYER: Definitely.

BURNEY LAMAR: Yeah, I agree with that one (smiling).

CLINT BOWYER: It was fun. I mean, you know, it come down to the point where your adrenaline is running, you're going for it. When they had that caution, I was sitting third. We were talking to Mike Dillon, my spotter, was talking to Michael Waltrip's spotter. He said he would go with me, but then again I knew those were his two buddies in front of me, too, and he'd like to get up there, so...

I moved up, thought he was going to go with me.  He kind of stuck me
three wide on the outside.  Stacy Compton came out of nowhere.  They
stayed with me.  Like to thank him.  I owe a lot to him.  I owe a lot to
him.  He stayed with me, kept me up there.
At that point you're just going for it.  You're not thinking about
wrecking.  And it was fun.  It turned out pretty good.

BURNEY LAMAR: Just to comment some more on that. You say we're crazy, but, you know, if you could picture three years ago, I was sitting at home watching this kind of stuff on the couch, begging just to get any kind of experience in any kind of heavy car, watching Clint, you know, almost get his first win his rookie year in Nashville, not even his rookie year. Tony Stewart winning races, my boss, Kevin Harvick, and then all of a sudden to actually drive for Kevin and DeLana, to have Gene Nead as a crew chief, Dollar General as a sponsor. It don't get better than that. I was racing with all these Cup drivers. Like I said, three years ago I was at home on my couch.

Q: Burney, being your first race, was there at any point during the time where you felt over your head or intimidated?

BURNEY LAMAR: No, that was the biggest thing. Kevin and DeLana, Rick Carelli, Ron Hornaday, Stewart, Clint, all these guys behind us, I know we got good equipment. Once I just calm down and get used to what I need to feel, you know, it's a completely different car than I've ever driven before.

I knew at the beginning of the race, we were extremely tight, getting ready to knock down the fence. My crew chief, Gene Nead, he just loosened the thing up and we just started going forward.

Q: Clint, I know you're only a rookie in the Cup Series, and you've been doing the Busch Series for a couple of years. It seems that all week, they haven't really been able to finish a race here without something happening at the very end, either going 'green white checkered' or what we saw there today. Does that kind of concern you a bit about tomorrow?

CLINT BOWYER: Somebody asked me, you know, what to expect tomorrow. I'm just pulling my belts a little bit tighter and holding on. The thing about tomorrow is you're battle a lot more experience. It goes 40 cars deep with that much experience.

A lot to learn. We had a strong finish there. The biggest thing about the Busch Series with me is I'm a lot more confident and comfortable out there racing against those guys. Things change come the 500.

Q: They may have more experience, but they've been crashing all week, too.

CLINT BOWYER: We were just fortunate. We got ourselves in a bad situation getting tight and having to go to the back, then coming all the way up through them. It very well could have happened to us. We just were fortunate. Had a wreck right there with Paul Menard, Carl Edwards right there off four, right in front of me. Just got lucky.

Q: Clint, you seem to have pretty good 360 view of what happened. Go through that last five laps and tell us how the thing materialized.

CLINT BOWYER: Again, you know, just like I said, a lot of adrenaline. That caution, you know, I told my spotter, "I ain't following them this time, I'm going for the win. Whether we finish 10th or 1, I was going to try."

We got up on the outside. Michael Waltrip, he said he was going to go with me. He shot three wide underneath of me. He shot the gap on the back straightaway. I promise you, you couldn't have fit a piece of paper in between us. He went for it. Luckily it didn't wreck all of us. But it worked.

You know, we tried to go back outside of him, cut back in. Junior got shuffled out. Stewart was all over the place. Then this kid come up there. It was wild. It was exactly what you saw. I can promise you, it was just as crazy in the windshield.

Q: You actually did have the lead briefly, then Stewart from the inside all of a sudden shows up outside of you.

CLINT BOWYER: Heck, there for a minute I thought I was going to end up seventh. Three wide on the outside, the old girl pulled through. Stacy Compton, he jumped up on the outside and followed me. They could have went with Michael Waltrip. Instead, he went with me. I owe a lot to him right there.

BURNEY LAMAR: While he's thinking who was helping him, Kevin Harvick, I talked to him in Victory Lane, I knew he was sort of holding the pack back so we could get a good finish.

CLINT BOWYER: Wasn't in Kevin's best interest to push his two cars to the win was it, again (smiling)?

TRACEY JUDD: Questions from the press box.

Q: I know you described the last five laps, but how about what happened on the last lap? Did the two of you guys book together a bit on the way down to the finish line?

CLINT BOWYER: Oh, yeah, we were bumping all the way through three and four. We got a good run on him. Stacy gave me a shove. I dove to go underneath him. He did what he was supposed to do. He was trying to block, got me down on the apron getting into three. We were both completely sideways right there. Then we bumped all the way through three and four, again up off of four.

You know, it's probably us sideways and out of control that may have caused that wreck behind us. You know, I mean, everybody was going for it at that point. This is Daytona. That's the last corner, you got to go for it.

BURNEY LAMAR: The first thing they told me, last 10 laps you don't have any friends out here, so...

Q: I don't know if you were aware that a couple drivers got sent to the back for aggressive driving. Was there a lot of communication between you and your teams about the bump drafts today?

CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, obviously these Busch cars with that package suck up. You can recover so much more than you can with a Cup car. If you slip up a little bit and back out of it, you can recover all on your own as opposed to a Cup car, you got to have some help, somebody behind you.

You know, I mean, for the most part, from what I saw, everybody was bump drafting down the straightaways, the short chutes on the front straightaway. For the most part, other than the wrecks, I didn't see people, you know, bumping in the corners too much.

Q: Burney, you weren't very far out of the top 10 most of the entire race. How did you finally make your way up behind your teammate at the end?

BURNEY LAMAR: Mainly, we were pretty far off. Could you repeat the question? I'm a rookie (laughter). I've been using that excuse all day.

Q: You weren't far from the top 10 all day, but how did you feel you made it up to behind your teammate at the very end?

BURNEY LAMAR: Like I said before, I definitely have to say that, you know, we had a great car in practice and stuff. I didn't really know what I wanted. We had the car that it took obviously, Stewart won the race. That's the kind of car that I was in. You know, it's a top contending car.

It was just a matter of me figuring out what I wanted. This is my first real plate race in the Busch Series. I got some ARCA starts, but it definitely was nothing like that. After I started relaying back to Gene Nead what I wanted, he loosened the thing up and that's exactly how I got back forward.

TRACEY JUDD: Gentlemen, thank you. Congratulations.

We have today's winner of the Hershey's Kissables 300, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 33 Old Spice Chevrolet. Our reigning NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, this is his second win in the NASCAR Busch Series, and he defended the victory he had here last year for his first career NASCAR Busch Series win.

Tony, tell us about the race today.

TONY STEWART: I don't know. I feel like I'm in court right now because we have the guy that types up the court deal right in front.

No, it was a cool race.  I think at the beginning a lot of guys got
caught off guard and their cars didn't drive very well.  Ours was no
exception.  We had a tight, tight, tight race car.  I just talked to
Zippy on the cell phone.  Remember how bad I was complaining yesterday, I
was doing it five times as worse today.  It was five times as bad.

I'm really, really proud of Wally Rogers and the guys on this Old Spice team, the adjustments they made to the Monte Carlo SS. Just, you know, to come from where we started the race to where we were at the end, to make the big changes that we made, I mean, I want to see the setup sheet from where we started, see where we ended up with all the changes. It's probably going to scare me to death, though, because it was a lot of stuff that I think I know some guys that probably wouldn't even have drove it with some of the changes they did at one time.

I was happy. I was happy with the progress the car made all day. You know, we just kept working our way to the front. We got in a situation where we got up to Junior, got a little bit of a run on him, but not enough to get by. He kind of stuck his hand out to say, hey, let's just take it easy.

Settled back in there and the second time it happened, we got stalled out by the 2 car, got a big, big push. It was too big of a push, too much momentum to stop and pick him up. If I'd have tried to do that, we were going to get freight trained by three or four cars probably. Just took the run, went with it, got the lead because of it.

Continued in part 2

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Drivers Tony Stewart , Michael Waltrip , Kevin Harvick , Stacy Compton , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Ted Musgrave , Paul Menard , Carl Edwards , Clint Bowyer , Burney Lamar