NASCAR Media Conference
September 2, 2008
THE MODERATOR: Thanks to Kasey Kahne. Appreciate you taking some time to answer questions for us today, and as it was just said, best of luck this weekend Kasey.
We are joined now by Clint Bowyer, driver of the 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet for RCR. Clint comes into Richmond in what you call the preferred position, 12th place, but as we noted earlier, the lead is pretty slim.
Clint, can you hold these other guys off and make the Chase for the second straight year?
CLINT BOWYER: I hope so. Obviously it's crunch time and we have one more week to decide that and if there's anything that gives you a good feeling, it's knowing that we won there in the spring and it's a track that I typically run good at.
But as we all know, Richmond is a track where anything can happen, too. We've kind of put ourselves in this situation, but it's time to see what we are made out of, and a lot of pressure this weekend but I think we can handle it just fine.
Q. Do you have to run/drive this race differently than you did the first time around; meaning, do you have to basically keep an eye out on where David Ragan is?
CLINT BOWYER: I don't think so. I think we can go and try to win the race and as you do every week and let the rest take care of itself.
But I mean obviously anything can happen in these races. I mean, if one of those guys were to slip up and have a little bit of trouble, you know, maybe it causes you to do something a little different.
Typically in the past, if we had tried to play conservative or do whatever, we end up just getting ourselves in trouble. We just go out and race as hard as we can and race to win the race, just like always, and we should be just fine.
Q. Have you ever been in this type of situation before where you really had to not only concern yourself with perhaps winning the race but perhaps where you finished in relation to another driver?
CLINT BOWYER: Oh, yeah, absolutely. That's the way the Chase is. Last year, you're racing everybody else, but you've got to beat -- last year had to beat the 24 and 48, but there wasn't anybody that was able to do that.
You know, it's been frustrating. It's been a frustrating summer for us. We've struggled and struggled on tracks that are typically good tracks for us. It's a breath of fresh air without any of the rest, points or anything; it's a breath of fresh air going to a track that the last time we had good success at and won the race. You know, it feels good to go back there and knowing that, hey, we run good there.
Q. How big of a confidence booster is it for you that you actually did win there earlier this year at Richmond?
CLINT BOWYER: I think it's a big confidence boost. Going into California, I was worried about California. That's a track where we haven't been running the best at. Those are the types of tracks we have been struggling at, and I was prepared to give up a little bit to the 6 and the 9 and end up just didn't give up much at all to the 9 and none to the 6.
You know, I was planning on going into -- I had already had my mind-set made up that it was going to be okay to go into Richmond behind and have to make it up.
Now we've just got to conserve what we've got and keep it.
Q. Now that you've been in the Chase and had a pretty successful one last year, how does being in the Chase compare to not being in the Chase, how much do you really want to get into this deal because you know what it's like?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I want to be a part of it. I know what it's like, and to be honest with you, in a strange way, as bad as our summer has been, I think we can pick our program up and get back after them, I really do.
The Chase races have typically been good racetracks for us, if you look at our track record in the past, those tracks are good for us.
So it didn't surprise me how we did in the Chase last year, because I knew going into that thing that if we could just make it, those tracks we are going to run good at, and it's the same way this year. I'm excited and hope we can make it this week if we can and pull out all the stops and go for broke again.
Q. I wonder how much pressure you feel, talking to David Ragan, he didn't really feel as much pressure, I don't think, because he would be the Cinderella story, but you and Kasey I think would be under more pressure. What's the pressure like for you guys on your team to get into this Chase?
CLINT BOWYER: It was pressure for all of us. Obviously none coming more than yourself. If you're a good race car driver in my opinion, you don't need anybody to put pressure on you because you're going to put it on yourself.
I want to be a part of this and I hope that I am, and you know, it's ours to lose right now. So there's pressure. There's no way getting around it. You have to make the best of it and dig deep and see what we are made out of it.
Q. How do you deal with the pressure, you?
CLINT BOWYER: I went on a motorcycle ride and rode about 300 miles yesterday with my father and my brother and just kind of laid low and chilled.
Q. Given the fact that you are ahead of Kasey Kahne and David Ragan, what is the type of finish that you feel you need, Top-5, Top-10, whatever, that would secure you a spot in the Chase?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, Top-5, I think we should be there if you look at. It if we can Top-5 Richmond, we're going to be fine.
But anything less than a Top-10, you're going to be frustrated and probably disappointed at the end of the night. Like I say, Richmond has been a good track for us, and we can do. It it's ours to lose.
Q. Also, unfortunately weather could become a factor this weekend, which may mean track position could be a factor. How important do you think qualifying will become in this race?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, hopefully the weather will be out of there by the time we start. You know, it's the same for everybody. Qualifying is going to be important. We are going to have to qualify better than we did, but we are going to race good.
Like I said, going into California, we had not been racing good, and I was worried. You know, I'm sitting here 30th on the sheet in practice and the 6 car and the 9 are in the Top-10, and, you know, that's got you scratching your head worried.
But going into Richmond, we won there in the spring. We've run well there in the past. You know, I've got a lot better feeling in my gut right now than I did last week.
Q. Preparation for big days like Saturday, do you have a regular workout routine, and do you feel that all of the seat time that drivers great, isn't that great exercise, too, as well as preparation?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I grew up racing motorcycles, and in my opinion, the best conditioning you can do for yourself as a work-out regimen is being on that motorcycle back then and being in the car. You know, you've got to be comfortable. That's the biggest thing is being comfortable in these race cars. If you're comfortable, it's not going to wear you out and you're not going to get tired.
If you're not comfortable, if you're loose and up on the wheel and tense, you're going to get tired and you're going to wear down.
Last week was a really hot race out in California, but it's the same for everybody. If I felt like I was falling out of seat and keeping us from running good, I would be out jogging every day, every morning I wake up and making myself miserable. As long as I can still leave places like Bristol and jog out of there, I'll be just fine.
Q. We talked actually at Talladega and actually again at Darlington, and I spoke with Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon, and they said the hottest driver over the previous 12 months, 12, 14 months was Clint Bowyer, and he was -- at the time you had a little swagger going. What do you feel like you need to do to get it back?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, we have a lot going on this season. My contract is up, announcement of bringing a fourth team in and moving over to a whole different deal with myself, there's been a lot going on this year that's been, you know -- I think you can attribute a lot of this to.
You know, it's been a frustrating year on everybody's part. You know, I think once we get in -- if we can get in this Chase and get going and start it off on the right foot, I think the sky is the limit for this team just the way it was last year.
Q. Having said that do you feel like since the announcement of you moving over to the 33 car and your crew actually staying behind; do you feel like there's a chemistry issue now or is everything still okay?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, we all know we have a job to do, but I mean, you can't -- I don't think there's anybody probably happy about the situation, and you know, we've got to make the best of it. We all know the job at hand and we all know what it takes to get that job done from last year, so we are going to dig deep. We are going to look after each other and make this deal happen.
Q. Because of so many drivers fighting to get into the Chase, how much do things change, like are you able to get any kind of help from other drivers or teammates, or is it everyone for themselves during this time of the year?
CLINT BOWYER: Man, I'd say it's always kinds of a little bit of everybody for themselves, but you bring your friends to the racetrack. I've got two great teammates that have got my back as I do theirs. They are the ones that I'll go to for advice and things like that.
Q. Coming into Richmond on the back of the last question, have you had a chance to meet with your teammates and devise a plan to maybe keep you in the Chase, or is it kind of like David Ragan said, when the green flag falls, everything is out the window?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, what do you expect your teammate to do? They have to go out and win the race just like you do.
Like I say, we won that race in the spring and we've got to go out there and do it again, and if we do that, the rest will take care of itself.
We had a fast race car, I didn't qualify good, and I though that's the one thing I've got to qualify better at. I'm looking at that and I'm looking forward to the challenge starting closer to the front where I don't take the whole race to get up there and realize, man, I needed one more adjustment to run with these guys up here in clean air like I did in the spring.
Now they took care of themselves and handed the race over to me, but I really feel like we had a car that was a couple adjustments away from being able to pass them, as well, just like we did the rest of the field.
THE MODERATOR: We wish you a good race, and just good luck to you.
Thank you to all the media for participating today.
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