NASCAR Media Conference
November 2, 2010
ASHLEY JONES: Good morning. Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference in advance of Sunday's AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, which is the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Our guest today is Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet. Clint is joining us from Richard Childress Racing in North Carolina.
Clint is currently 12th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings but has won two races, most recently at Talladega Superspeedway. Clint has also accumulated seven top-five and 17 top-10 finishes this season. Heading to Texas, Clint has two top 5s and five top 10s in nine trips to the Speedway.
Coming off your win this weekend at Talladega, talk about your outlook heading to Texas.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I'm looking forward to Texas. It's always a lot of fun, the fans, everything that surrounds the racetrack. The stockyards down there, I always look forward to going down there. Just a really neat atmosphere to be able to race.
But the track itself, very fast. Always puts on a good show for the fans. We got a brand-new racecar built for this. The engine boys said it's the best horsepower we've had all year. Looking forward to having a great run and, who knows, maybe winning another race.
ASHLEY JONES: We'll now take questions for Clint Bowyer.
Q. Clint, you're the only guy with two wins in this Chase. Does it start to make you wonder what could have been, should have been?
CLINT BOWYER: Oh, yeah. I mean, I've thought that ever since the penalty, to be honest with you. To win the Chase, the opener at New Hampshire, then have the penalty, ever since then it's just kind of been a pretty rocky road, truthfully not much to look forward to. You lose your crew chief, mojo, pit crew, everything is tumbling down. To win a race got things back in the right direction, where they needed to be.
We almost won California, too. We would have won three races. The greedy side of me wants to think of that. We almost won three out of the seven Chase races, and were pretty darn close to doing that.
Q. What did you salvage, other than winning some more races? Can you get out of 12th and get to 5th or 6th?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, the goals from here, obviously getting my crew chief back this weekend, Shane Wilson, and getting things headed in the right direction for next year is huge. I think we can win another race by the end of the year, I really do. We're running good.
I think, you know, being able to walk across the stage and thank your sponsors at the banquet is very important. There's 12 Chase drivers in the Chase, but only 10 of them get recognized and get on stage at the championship banquet. To get on there, thank your sponsors, all your team members that have gotten you that far in the season is very important to me. I got to get within the top 10 to do that. That's goal number one right now.
Q. Clint, of the three races still coming up, what do you think is your best chance to get to Victory Lane and why?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, two of the three, and that's why I've always had success in this Chase and like the Chase so much, is they're good racetracks for me.
Texas, we've gotten close before. If we can improve on what we've had in the past there, which I think we can, and we have a brand-new racecar, and more importantly more horsepower, the engine boys are very excited about the engine that we're running. It's the next step. It's what Jamie McMurray won with in Charlotte. I'm looking forward to checking it out and seeing what it's got, hopefully landing ourselves in Victory Lane.
Again, we have a great car for Phoenix, a great game plan. We ran awesome there in the spring race. I'm looking forward to getting out there. We won in the Nationwide Series there, haven't in the Cup Series. I think that's a track where I can win in the future.
Q. How about having Shane Wilson back? Got to knock any rust off of him or have the weekends off been good for him?
CLINT BOWYER: Truth be told, I think it's been good for all of us. It's opened our eyes to a couple things that we've been missing, you know. Communication side of it on race day is one I think. Scott Miller did a great job. Things are intense. When they get heated up, things can get out of control, spiral downhill pretty quick. Scott did a great job of managing that situation, keeping things pointed in the right direction.
I think it helped me having to pick my end of it up a little bit, take the reins myself, be a little bit more of a quarterback instead of just having Shane do it all.
It's been a good situation. Shane has been able to sit outside looking in, evaluate things, kind of open up a different opinion and evaluate where we're at.
I think we can be better coming out of the box here at Texas. I look to be strong.
Q. Talk about the difference between racing a teammate on lap 50 or 100 and the last lap? Where does the cutoff start for when you start racing them a little different?
CLINT BOWYER: You mean like Kevin Harvick?
Q. Passing your teammate on the last lap to win. Obviously nobody told you not to. How do you decide when to go and when not to go?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, you certainly owe it to each other and everybody involved at RCR to work together all day long and try to keep each other up front. Kevin, even Jeff and I, did a good job of that until he was out. Kevin and I at the end of the race, I felt like we did what we needed to do to give RCR the best opportunity at a win. Racing side-by-side there, drag race at the end, was a pretty prime example of making sure both cars were up front. I think we did as good as we could.
Q. What is behind the resurgence of the RCR team this year?
CLINT BOWYER: A lot of things. The engineering program has really picked up, simulation. All the things that we didn't have. We had to build those things, had to purchase some of them, acquire people, good people. You can't just put somebody in there that has no experience in that, no background in those things. We had to research and find good people and put them in the right places. Richard shuffled other people around, just get all the pieces of the puzzle put together correctly.
At the end of the day, it's all about people. I think we finally got a good chemistry and a good lineup of people in the right positions to get the job done on Sunday.
Q. Clint, with the top three being so close in the Chase, now there's three races left, I would think I could speak for the fans saying it's pretty exciting. How about for you guys? You're happy to be in the Chase, two wins. Is it something you really look forward to, these last three races, just to be part of this?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, certainly the race, it's building for this championship Chase, is awesome right now. I think it speaks volumes to the competition and the quality of racing on the racetrack. There's been a lot of talk, and probably going to change up the Chase in the future.
My personal opinion is, I think it's good. I think the reason it hasn't been very good in years past is from the sheer dominance of one race team. Certainly the Hendrick organization was far and above pretty well dominant over any other team the last two or three years. I think the competition's caught up to them. The quality of racing on the racetrack is as even, as close, as good as it's ever been since I've been in this sport. I think that's why you're seeing this championship battle come down to the end.
I really, truly believe there would be more than just three cars. If it wasn't for some bad luck on some other teams' part, I think you'd have five or six cars in that championship battle coming down to Homestead.
Q. The final lap at Talladega, are you at all wondering where you should be at a certain point? Is the thought of a caution coming out at all in your head?
CLINT BOWYER: That's a good question. It's a difficult situation to try to balance and juggle around.
I mean, yes, obviously you need to be in position to win the race. But one lap at Talladega is a long ways around there. If the caution comes out at any point and you're not at the point, you're going to lose.
So I think the best way to do that is to try to lead, be leading when the white flag comes out. Anything that happens after that, you know, if a caution comes out, the race is yours. If it doesn't, at least you've got an opportunity to win the race.
If there's somebody on you and pushing you in a two-car deal, he's probably going to break away and probably have a pretty good shot at passing you for the win. But that's all you can do.
If you're second and the caution comes out, you're going to wish you'd done it a lot sooner than you did.
Q. You were talking about how the competition is so even. Why do you think that is? Has everybody landed on the same thing? People have caught up to other people?
CLINT BOWYER: I think the Hendrick organization just beat everybody to the punch. It's taken almost two years, if not longer, for everybody to get the missing link figured out.
I think where it came from is the engineering side of it. I think they were years in advance of the simulation programs that we're all using now, all the tools that it takes to be competitive, without the testing.
As soon as they took testing out, an organization like ours, the mentality was, if you were off on Sunday, you would go somewhere and test until you figured it out. You would not come home until you had the speed that you were looking for.
When they banned testing, it really forced us to learn, acquire engineering and the simulation side of what it takes to be fast these days. I think it takes time to get that put in place. That's where we filled the void, I think.
ASHLEY JONES: Thank you for joining us today on the NASCAR teleconference with Clint Bowyer. Clint, good luck this weekend at Texas.
CLINT BOWYER: Thank you.
|Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library|