NASCAR Media Conference
April 27, 2010
DENISE MALOOF: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to this week's NASCAR cam video teleconference in advance of this weekend's events at Richmond International Raceway. Joining us is Clint Bowyer. He's the driver of the No. 33 BB&T Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. He's currently 11th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, and he's a Richmond winner. He won the Cup event in the spring of 2008.
Clint also will compete for RCR in Friday's Nationwide Series. He won the Nationwide event there at Richmond in the spring of 2007.
CLINT BOWYER: Thanks for having me.
DENISE MALOOF: I know you love Richmond International Raceway. It's a track so many drivers anticipate.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, Richmond is just a perfect racetrack, in my opinion. It's just big enough that a fan sitting in the stands can get that sensation of speed, and even us as racecar drivers, but it's short enough you still beat and bang on each other. That's what everybody likes to see.
I just feel like they did their homework when they built Richmond. It's just the perfect size of racetrack.
DENISE MALOOF: We have a question from a fan, Matt in Tennessee. He wants to know what has been the biggest difference for RCR these past six months.
CLINT BOWYER: I think the biggest changes, there's actually a lot, but just hard work and working together. You know, I think that's the biggest thing is teamwork in any organization, doesn't matter what you do. I feel like moving down to three teams at RCR really forced us to work together as a group. I feel like we're as strong as we've ever been.
Engineering department stepped up in a big way. Engines have stepped up. Just everybody at RCR across the board has really stepped up. Simulation, we purchased a simulation program over the off-season and really, you know, enhanced us as far as that side of things go as well.
You know, really proud to be sitting where we're sitting. All three cars are in the Chase so far. Long ways to go. Getting into the summer grind here. We just got to make sure we take care of business.
Seems like everybody in NASCAR has had their share of some bad luck. I think that's why the competition is as close as it is right now as far as points-wise goes. One bad race can throw you out of this thing or put you into this thing.
Just got to make sure we're solid here these next few weeks, the upcoming months. I want to be in a situation going into Richmond the second time where we have to really make sure that we're solidly in the thing and don't have to race our way in.
DENISE MALOOF: Let's go straight to some media questions for Clint Bowyer.
Q. Clint, you got to be pretty happy you actually survived and got through Talladega unscathed. You got a top 10. Does that help you going into Richmond and give you a sigh of relief?
CLINT BOWYER: Oh, absolutely. As I said a little bit ago, it seems like everybody has had their share of bad luck this season. We've been solid. Our cars are running good. We blew up the last 50 at Bristol, got a setback, then we got a flat tire. Got caught up in the wreck deep into the race at Texas, had a bad finish. Those two finishes, you know, set us back a lot farther than we needed to be in the points. Kind of tiptoeing a little bit, making sure we take care of business.
Talladega, had to ride in the back all day. Not much fun doing that. As a racecar driver, you want to be up leading every lap, contending every lap. Riding in the back, it's not so much fun, but it seems like what you got to do anymore to get yourself a good finish.
Q. Clint, the win by Kevin at Talladega, obviously that ended a long losing streak for the team. How does that connect the rest of you guys? Is it a significant boost for all teams at RCR?
CLINT BOWYER: I think it always is across the board, you know, whether it be you as a race team that won the race, you know, or the other team that didn't, you know. Like our team with the 33 Cheerios Hamburger Helper Chevrolet, we watched them win. We know our cars are capable of winning. That lights a fire under our team just as much as it does anybody else.
That confidence, that momentum, everything that a win brings to an organization and race team is everything. We need to build from that and feed off of it and keep going.
Q. Clint, I was wondering, going into Richmond, since it is the last race before the Chase the next time you go back, do teams do more testing there of different things or do you not do a lot of testing and concentrate on having a good finish so you have confidence when you go back there in September?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, I think every race, as competitive as it is anymore, every race is equally important. You know, this first race getting out of here with a good run, a win, is every bit as important as that second race in Richmond. If you get out of here with a win, you know, string together a string of top 10s, top 5 runs, you're not going to have to worry about that second race.
Definitely just got to get there and take care of business each and every week. If we do that, doesn't matter if it's the first race or the second race, you're going to be fine.
Q. I also wanted to ask you about doing the two races at Talladega. Running around in the back for a while during the Cup race, did that help you mentally just be able to be in good condition for the Nationwide race?
CLINT BOWYER: I wasn't even thinking about the Nationwide race. That's just kind of an extra bonus as a racecar driver to get to run that.
Right now all focus is on the No. 33 car, making sure that, A, we get this thing in the Chase, and B, first and foremost, win a race. It's time that we need to win a race and prove that we can still do this. Me as a driver, I got to do that.
Hopefully, you know, the thought process going into that race was just, you know, getting to the end of it, making sure I had the fenders on it, making sure I give myself and my race team at least an opportunity to try to win the race.
Like I said, it seems like that's what you have to do anymore to survive the storm. To get to the end of it, you got to lie back and be bored most of the day, wait for 40 or 50 laps to go, go like hell and hope that everything works out.
Q. Clint, talking about Kevin Harvick, his winless drought. Can you describe what it's been like for you and your team, especially as you come back to a place where you last won.
CLINT BOWYER: You know, I think everybody at RCR is riding high right now. Everybody is excited. Everybody has a pep in their step. Our cars are running good. We got a reason to.
I think like at RCR we've had some chances already this year before Kevin, and again with the 29 car, with the 31 car. We've missed out on opportunities. We've had 'em. Seems like at the end of these races, it's a crapshoot on whether to take two, no tires, four tires, what's going to win the race. We just haven't been able to find that right combination.
The best thing about it is we're running in the top five, running up front. If you continue doing that, you're going to get you a win. That's what we need right now with our team in particular. We need to get a win and get that confidence, get that monkey off our back and prove to ourselves that we can do this.
Q. Clint, you guys are pretty good at adapting anyway. With all the rain delays this year, have you learned new adaptation skills?
CLINT BOWYER: Man, I tell you, it's hard. If you're sitting at the track in a rain delay, there's nothing anybody can do. You sit in the motorhome. I think I covered all of the Internet possible. I think every website I covered. I might have missed two. But just boring. That's what it is. You got to let Mother Nature run its course, get back after it.
But, you know, after a long rain delay like that, it's hard to get your mindset back in and tuned into what's going on. I felt a little, where I had to tell myself Sunday morning, Let's go, it's time to get after it, get back up on the saddle.
Q. Do you think the waiting is tougher on racecar drivers then?
CLINT BOWYER: Oh, absolutely. All of us are always chomping at the bit to get out there and get going. When you set out for a whole day, gives us time to think about it, especially at a place like Talladega, gets your mind racing. It's hard to get back focused.
Q. Clint, you had a good showing at the Nationwide race this past weekend. Is that kind of an extension of how much longer you're going to be in that car or is there more discussion coming along the way?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, we're working on that. Hopefully we're going to be in it for seven more races. Had a lot of fun at Talladega. Had our shot at it. You know, come up a little short. Nonetheless, it's good finally for myself to get that car to the end and get a halfway decent run.
I think we ended up sixth. Wasn't what we wanted; wasn't what I thought we were capable of running. Anytime you get through Talladega and finish and you haven't been tore up, life's good.
Q. No discussion how much longer you may continue?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, we're working on it. Hopefully we're going to be in it several more races. I love the Nationwide Series. Zaxby's has been a great sponsor. Hopefully we can continue on. We're working on it.
Q. Clint, earlier you mentioned RCR purchased some sort of simulator. Is that for the racecar driver, the cars, the setup? Can you tell us more about that.
CLINT BOWYER: It's a simulation program. You know, anymore it seems like that's how you get most of your setups, off the computer, not listening to the driver anymore. That just helps you get to the racetrack, get in the ballpark, fine tune it from there.
I think most of the time you see these teams load right off the truck anymore pretty sporty and I think it's because of these simulation programs, engineering, how far it's come.
Q. Do you use the racing simulators as a driver like some of the younger guys do?
CLINT BOWYER: No, I don't. I pretty much know how to get on the racetrack. I've been around.
But I think, you know, starting out, that's definitely an added bonus, just being aware, like I said, how do you get on the racetrack, where the next corner is, how it is, you know. Something that catches you off guard probably more on road courses than anything is just, you know, knowing your surroundings, knowing what you're getting into before you ever even get there. I mean, that's something that I never had.
Q. Looking ahead to future weekends where weather might become a problem, would you prefer the single day doubleheader format as opposed to running Nationwide on Mondays?
CLINT BOWYER: I would. You know, nobody wants to stay over till Monday and race. I mean, you know, you lose your crowd, you lose everything about it. You know, it's always kind of an afterthought when you're running on Mondays and everybody is back at work, and nobody gets to watch.
You know, we saw some fans leaving the Nationwide race. But to start the race, that's probably as big a crowd as we've raced in front of in a while with the Nationwide Series.
Q. Clint, I guess after Texas, you dropped out of the top 12. Now you're back in the top 12. Does it matter whether you're 11th, 12th or 13th or 14th at this time of the year from a mentality standpoint, whether you're in week to week or out week to week?
CLINT BOWYER: Oh, absolutely. Like I say, getting back to your confidence, your momentum, your swagger, your team, knowing they're a part of that elite group pushes them to keep their chest poked out and keep going.
You know, we need to be a lot more solid in the Chase than just 11th. I'm not comfortable at all where we're at right now. I feel the way our cars are running, you know, the direction I feel like we're headed with RCR, I think all three of our teams are going to be in the Chase. It's up to us to make that happen. I think only us can knock ourselves, knock our chances out of doing that.
Q. Did you ever talk to Harvick about the Nationwide race at Texas and what happened there?
CLINT BOWYER: You're always digging, aren't you (laughter)?
It was just a racing thing. It wasn't nothing nobody did wrong. Just run out of real estate. It was just a frustrating deal. You know, I was just trying to get that car to the end of race and get a solid run for them guys. We weren't able to do that.
Everybody's got different agendas. It's just part of it. It's part of racing. Things happen.
DENISE MALOOF: Thank you, Clint. Thank you for taking the time. We appreciate it. Good luck at Richmond this week.
CLINT BOWYER: Thanks, guys.
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