NASCAR Nationwide Series: Ford 300
Topics: Ford 300
November 15, 2008
THE MODERATOR: We are now pleased to be joined by our 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series champion, driver Clint Bowyer. He drives the No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet. Team and car owner Richard Childress; team crew chief Dan Deeringhoff. Congratulations on a super job and terrific effort tonight.
Clint, what's it feel like winning the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide series championship, your first series championship in NASCAR?
CLINT BOWYER: Man, it's just incredible. It makes you think back to how it all started. You know, working in a body shop in Kansas and trying to figure out how to -- what was the next move. You're out of money, your parents gave up three retirements to get you where you're at, and, you know, it was kind of the end of the road.
Out of nowhere, my cell phone rings and it was Richard. It was just unbelievable to think back how my career started with the race in Nashville and then winning my first race in the Nationwide series at Nashville.
You know, to be able to win our first championship with Dan and all the guys on the BB&T Chevrolet and all our partners, very proud to be able to do this for Richard. Kind of feels like giving back for taking a chance on me, and finally it paid off.
It took him a while, took me a while, but I finally had a chance, an opportunity to give back to him and just really proud of everybody at RCR, all the guys on the BB&T, Camping World, Chevrolet, everybody -- we're strong.
RCR, it's fun to be able to roll through RCR as a race car driver and know the guys and know that they're pulling for you and happy that you're racing for them. That's what Richard has formed there is a family atmosphere where a guy can go there and feel like family.
THE MODERATOR: Dan, your second year as chew chief in the No. 2 gets you a championship. What are your thoughts?
DAN DEERINGHOFF: That was pretty neat. I'm at a loss for words. I haven't eaten for three days (laughter). It's actually three years I've been crew chiefing there.
THE MODERATOR: R. C., you've got to feel good about this, this is your fifth NASCAR Nationwide series championship for RCR and the third time that you've either had or tied or won the driver-car owner championship. So congratulations. What are your thoughts about this No. 2 car?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I'm really proud of the whole team, everybody worked so hard, and BB&T and Camping World. We started the year out to win the championship, and here we are.
I can't say enough about Clint Bowyer. I see in him what I've seen in some other drivers that were great, and I think he's got everything it takes to be the great one. I'm really proud for him and his family. It's neat to see a family atmosphere, his brothers and his mother and father and everybody around, and I'm just really proud of it.
And I'd like to congratulate the Gibbs organization. To go out and win owner's championship with four different drivers is just unheard of. I'm really happy that those guys -- if we couldn't win it, I was really proud for Joe and those guys, the way they accomplished it.
Q. What would Elvis say about this one?
CLINT BOWYER: Taking care of business, baby (laughter).
Q. Clint, how nerve-wracking was that last restart? And, Richard, were you with him on the radio during that final caution? What did you say?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think all of us was on at one time. We just told him to be cool and it would be -- it would all be good, and he did.
CLINT BOWYER: That's the hardest thing is you knew it was coming. Every time that we get into a deal where we're going to win a race or we have a good car, that always happens. We always have to go through the adversity for some reason, that last scare, before glory, before the end, whether it's good or bad.
You know, it's never easy, it seems like, for us in the Nationwide car. But you know, that's what championships are made out of. I remember racing at Lakeside and coming down to the last race and battling it out and having to beat the guy -- like we had last night with the Truck Series. I couldn't imagine going through that.
I had a 56-point lead and still had trouble with it. But 3-point lead going into that race, it was just incredible to watch that and think, oh, my God, this is fixing to happen to me tomorrow.
Just so proud of -- it's all about having good people, and Richard has surrounded me with good people, with Dan Deeringhoff, with everybody on this car. They're good people, they work hard and they accomplish their goals.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I'd like to throw one more thing in. That last week at Phoenix, I think that was probably the turning point for winning the championship is those guys got in there and dug and dug, and that car was killed in a front end, and if we ever had luck on our side, it was that day, we didn't lose a radiator. And our Chevrolet Monte Carlo just did a great job, and Clint drove it back to the front, and a couple more laps might have won the race with it.
I think that was a big turning point in winning the championship, being able to come in here instead of being 20 points ahead, being like we were.
Q. R. C., in 2005 you pulled me aside and you said, boy, have I found the guy. And historically you go with veteran drivers so your fab shop is not too busy, but in this case, since Harvick, you had finally found a young guy that you're like, he's the real deal. What was it that you saw in Clint even back then that you knew he had championship form?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Number one, he's got car control from being on dirt tracks and the type of racing. But I think it's -- to be a champion and to be what it takes to be successful in this sport -- it's the toughest motor sport I think in the world -- is you've got to have heart. And he has heart, and he knows when to dig, and I seen that even at the first races I watched him run. You've got to have heart, and he has it.
Q. Clint, the fact that it came against Carl tonight and that you had a chance to told him off, how special is that? Does it mean anything to you? And does it make it sweeter?
CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. It was funny, I saw him at the steps leaving here, and he said -- he shared a story and we both thought it was funny we raced at the same race in Moberly, Missouri. It was my first asphalt race, went over there with a guy named Scott Traylor, his modified -- he let me have an opportunity. And had an awesome car. I mean, this thing was beautiful, top-notch. Show up, and here comes this ragged-out, turd of a race car that was way louder than everything else and for whatever reason had different tires than everybody else, and he killed us that day. And I'm like, who in the hell is that guy? It was Carl Edwards.
So we had that moment down there, and I told him, I said, "that's payback for Moberly." That was our first race together. We race a lot. He did a better job of wrecking my cars this year than I did. But we had a lot of fun, and still, it comes down to enjoying each other, and Carl is a hell of a race car driver. There's no way of getting around it.
You know, I'm damn proud to be able to beat a race car driver like that and a team and an organization like he's got behind him. It says a lot about ours and the people that surround me.
Carl, he's been a long-time friend from those days, and I think it's a true testament to the stepping stones of NASCAR. We both came from the weekly racing series, went through the regional touring series and he went to the Truck series. Luckily I got the right phone call and went to the Nationwide series. It's fun to be able to come back here, what, five, six years later and be able to race each other for championships. It really is fun.
Q. For Clint and for Dan, I guess with about ten laps to go, Clint, you went three wide with a couple guys. Just how nervous did that make both of you?
CLINT BOWYER: Who am I talking to?
Q. Upstairs (laughter).
CLINT BOWYER: You know, the whole race I was three wide, behind, knew I had to catch up. You know, Carl has been doing a good job of putting the heat on. You knew he was going to. You knew he was going for it in Carl Edwards' style. But you knew that you had to stick to your guns, stick to the basics, stick to what got us to this point. And that's consistency, racing smart, and that paid off. It's paid off in years -- every championship I've ever won, it's consistency. It isn't the races won.
I mean, absolutely we wanted to win more races, but you'll give up a battle or two to win the war, and I feel like we earned the war.
Q. Same question for Dan.
DAN DEERINGHOFF: Ten laps to go and that caution comes out, it bunches everybody back up and you don't have time to not go two or three wide, you gotta get what you can. Clint did an excellent job of doing that and making sure we were padded well enough on this championship.
Q. For Clint, they said on TV that you guys had decided before the race not to talk about where Carl was, what position you were in, what the points were. Would that have just been a distraction for you?
CLINT BOWYER: That's funny you say that because halfway through the Cup practice, I'm sitting there and my Cup car is good and I'm thinking about this Nationwide deal and thinking, we haven't really talked about this Nationwide deal. Hey, I need to make sure I know where I need to be.
But that's the way it is. You go out there and do the best you can and race as hard as you can, and if that's not good enough, that's not good enough. You know, that's what got us to this point.
An exception, we made some mistakes, but they made more mistakes. It's nerve-wracking. There's no way of getting around it. Dan said he didn't eat. I woke up at 5:30 this morning. Trust me, that doesn't ever happen (laughter).
Q. Clint, you touched on this just a minute ago. There are times during the season when you got frustrated because you believed you had a car that could win and you didn't, but when you look back at the year you had like 29 Top-10s and 35 races, never finished worse than 25th. Now that you have this trophy, is it easier to appreciate the ones that you lost earlier in the season?
CLINT BOWYER: It is, but it makes you think back on how much you appreciate the hard work of everybody back at RCR, the engine department. I don't know when is the last time we've had a DNF from the guys' hard work.
You know, I'll tell you another funny thing about Richard was he said how did we run here last year, and Danny said it was going good until we broke about two laps to go, and a motor broke is what happened.
You've got to push the envelope and make the boss nervous. If the boss isn't nervous, them guys ain't doing their jobs, in my opinion. Hat's off to the engine department, whether it be the Nationwide or the Cup program. They've come so far. Everybody at RCR has worked hard to get us to this point. We're fourth, fifth and sixth on the Cup side, and that's pretty consistent, pretty solid, and I think that's overall as an average better than anybody, any organization.
So that all happens back in the shop, and those people digging in the trenches, they don't get seen and talked about enough. Hopefully they all know that we appreciate this.
Q. For Richard and Clint, what has Dan meant to the team, and how has he been a steadying force this year?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think he's one of the silent crew chiefs. You never hear a lot about him or anything, but he's as solid as any crew chief out there. We've got him next year. He's going to be doing a great job for us again. I'm just proud of what he's been able to do, and to lead the guys at the shop has really been a major deal, and he's a leader. That's what I've got to say.
CLINT BOWYER: I second that. I mean, in my opinion he's a lot like I am. He never shows up until the money is on the line, and then he's there. I feel like that's what won us this championship.
If you look at the race tonight, hell, I was nervous. I was like, we're not that good, how am I going to get up there? We work together, we work hard, and Dan makes good decisions, and by the end of the night we're where we need to be, and I think that we complement each other well, and I appreciate all of his hard work.
This has been a long time coming. We worked well together last year, had an incredible, consistent year last year, and it showed me that that's what it took to win a championship this year, and indeed that's what it was.
Q. Clint, any chance of you running to try to defend this championship next year? Or one is enough?
CLINT BOWYER: You know, with this new testing procedure, I can't wait for vacation (laughing). I'm going to run as much as I can. I love this series. I love what Nationwide has done for this series. I appreciate them coming in and helping -- stepping up to the plate. They really did.
I mean, times are tough, and this series is on top, and it's a lot of fun to be able to participate in this series, and I want to be a part of it as long as I can. Hopefully -- we've got a new guy coming to town, a spotter, Mike Dillon, his son, Richard's grandson Austin. He's been doing one hell of a job. He finished in a Top-5, whooped up on me at Memphis and really showed all of us his potential.
Believe it or not, there is a Dillon that can drive, and I think he's coming (laughter). I hope you print that so Mike Dillon can see that.
Q. I wonder for Richard and Clint, if you could talk about this series and how competitive it is and the opportunities it provides for young drivers.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: You know, I think it was two or three years ago there was a lot of conversation about Cup guys being in this series. Well, that's what -- watching these Cup guys race against a Kevin Harvick, when we moved him up, we knew he was ready because he could go out and race and outrun the Cup guys.
Then when Clint came along, to be able to watch him go out and race the Cup guys, we knew we was able to move him up. With Nationwide coming in and taking this series, it gave all of us an advantage to be out there and maybe take a chance on the next young kid. Joey Logano is going to be a star from it. That's where these guys come from, and you see them sit there and race these Cup guys, that gives the owners confidence to move a guy up.
Q. Am I correct in saying the driver pays for the whole championship party?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Yes.
CLINT BOWYER: You said you were going to split it with me.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, I think the drivers pay for the party.
Q. Richard, to change gears a little bit, right before you came in, Jack Roush said that he would like to get an agreement amongst the Cup team owners to not skirt around the no-testing issues by going to Pikes Peak, going to places like that, because he says all that's going to do is defeat the purpose of not testing anyway, you know, finding tracks in Canada, that type of stuff. Would you agree to such an agreement like that?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I think so, but I think what you're going to see, we've talked a lot about it, people doing a lot more in the technology world, and with the equipment and stuff that's out there and some of the programs and all that you can get today, I think we'll do a lot more -- if you've got -- it comes down to the tires. If we don't have the tires, there's no need in going.
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