NASCAR Nationwide Series: Camping World 300
Topics: Camping World 300
February 14, 2009
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
KERRY THARP: We're going to roll into your post-race press conference for today's Camping World 300 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
We're pleased to be joined in the infield media center by Clint Bowyer. Finished third in today's race. The defending series champion.
Clint, certainly a lot of drama unfolding there at the end of the race. Your thoughts?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, you know, seemed like I lost the lead there. The 80 got it. I couldn't get around him. I tried to make the outside work. My car was strong on the bottom all day.
Our tires were getting wore out. I think we were the only one, you know, with 40-lap tires there at the end. Stewart, I think he pitted with, what, 30 to go when that caution came out, whatever it was.
But, you know, Dan and all the guys on the Holiday Inn Chevrolet did a good job. We had a fast racecar. You know, I couldn't get it done.
KERRY THARP: Questions for Clint Bowyer.
Q. Clint, could you take us through what you saw going through three and four, how you were able to get to where you got at the finish line.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, I knew Kyle was going to try to do something. I really thought he'd try to change it up from what he did last night that didn't work. But he did the same thing. Didn't work again (laughter).
But, you know, that's the thing. I don't know that I agree with just going in there and making the decision to try to hit 'em hard enough that, you know, it knocks them up the racetrack. I think even if you did make it, you know, spun him out or whatever, it would be a pretty bad pass.
But, you know, I was anticipating something. I mean, we were fourth in line there. I needed him to break loose and try to get doubled up somehow so I could try to make a move, but it is what it is.
Q. At what point in these races do you just feel, I mean, you get to five laps to go, ten laps to go, whatever you're going to finish is dictated by where you wound up and there's not a hell of a lot you can do about it? Is that sort of the frustration?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, I mean, we had a fast racecar. That's the frustration. I mean, it was surprisingly fast. We were really, really loose. You drive the hell out of 'em. You really have to. Got to get up on the wheel, keep it underneath of you. When you don't win, you're bummed.
Q. Clint, a question about tomorrow. To what extent, if at all, do you have concerns about tire wear? More so than a typical race?
CLINT BOWYER: I think the track, I mean, definitely got a groove down on the bottom. You could see a black groove down on the bottom. You know, it always seems to do that as races progress. We've had a truck race now. We've had a Nationwide race. I think, you know, hopefully that tire wear will be better.
I think it was better throughout, you know, as our race progressed today. It continually got better. We're going to be slipping and sliding around. We had long runs today. I think one car I think I saw had tire trouble.
I don't know if they had a rub or whatever else. Had to push an ugly little Ford up there toward the end (laughter).
CARL EDWARDS: That was a fast little Ford.
CLINT BOWYER: Hopefully it will be good. Hopefully the 33 will wear better than the rest.
KERRY THARP: We're also pleased now to be joined in our infield media center by today's race runner-up, Carl Edwards.
Carl, your thoughts about how today's race unfolded.
CARL EDWARDS: I just had to stop and watch the replay of the finish. The 18 pushed the 80 down the back straightaway. They got in the corner. He pushed him all the way up. I thought, Man, this is it. We're going to have a run.
Coming off four, I was a little too close. Clint was right on my bumper; pushed me right by Kyle. He gave me like the half inch I needed there. I thought he was going to come out and I was just going to blow through his right rear bumper.
Then we got all straightened out, come to the line. Same deal. Clint was still pushing me. I had a little of a run on Tony. He came up. I thought, Man, we're going to -- this is going to be smoke and walls and all that.
But it ended up he gave me enough room and I still ended up second. It was an exciting at least half a lap, at least for me.
KERRY THARP: We'll continue with questions for Carl and Clint.
Q. Clint, I'm not sure what your schedule is, but you got a race under your belt this year, stepping off where you left off. When will it hit you you're not contending for the championship this year?
CLINT BOWYER: He can have it (laughter). I got one up on him. We're even now, right now.
I'm looking forward to focusing on the 33 car. You know, we're a new team. No testing procedures. Our backs are up against the wall. We got to make sure that we give a hundred percent to that. That's what my focus is on.
I'm in the Nationwide Series this year strictly to have one in the 29 car and win races. You know, we're not points racing anymore. We're out there trying to win races, go for broke each and every week.
Q. With what we saw in the Bud Shootout, the 150s, today, even the truck race last night, the action we've seen, is that what this sport needs to get away from all the other things that are going on in the real world?
CARL EDWARDS: I think the sport's kind of always had it. It's fun. It's sport. It's exciting. There's a lot of things going on and off the track. I'm proud to be a part of it. I think as long as we keep delivering these races and racing like we do, we give our fans and sponsors and everybody their money's worth, I think that's good.
I know it takes my mind off a lot of things when I'm in the racecar.
CLINT BOWYER: I totally agree. I mean, we're in the show business. We're out there to put on a show. If we put on a good show, our fans will come. If we don't, we can't expect 'em to come. I think that was a hell of a show today. Hopefully it will be even better tomorrow.
Q. Carl, you knew who you had to contend with for the championship. It's a 35-race schedule. After racing with Kyle, look ahead to what you have with this championship battle with him.
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, this one's -- I thought he was going to get a huge head start on us about halfway through the race. My car was terrible, and he was up there leading, fighting for the lead, whatever. Couldn't even see really.
This is a good start for us. I think he's going to be really tough. I think that's all there is to it. I think those guys are extremely good. I think the owner's championship can be any of the teams running for it.
We've seen how tough that can be, too. We just have to do what we did today over and over and gain as many points as we can.
Q. Carl, you mentioned going into turn three, you said , "I thought, 'This is it.'" You mean this is the big one or this is my chance to maybe get under everybody?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah (laughter).
CLINT BOWYER: Both (laughter).
CARL EDWARDS: I was looking at it more like a chance to get by him. When we come off of four I started thinking about it more like, I could be really screwing this up right now. If I hit Kyle as hard as I think I'm going to hit him, it's going to wreck Tony and everybody.
Things change really quick out there. Your emotions go up and down. Through that corner they went up, then down, then up again.
Q. According to some, the tire wear, there's doom and gloom on the horizon. Has tire wear overall during the week, has it been any worse or better or about the same as in years past?
CLINT BOWYER: I think, I mean, we've always seen cars blowing tires. I mean, you have to be careful not to assume that it's just the tire. I mean, a lot of people touch each other. That's all it takes, as close as the fenders are and you got a tire rub. You can't expect a tire to last through a tire rub or something grinding through it.
But I think as we come down here, the track, it keeps getting slicker and slicker as the years go by. We keep looking for Goodyear to make up for the difference. That isn't always fair.
Q. Wasn't one dominant car today. Was it just a matter of whoever put themselves in the right place at the right time as far as who comes out winning this thing?
CARL EDWARDS: You were up there more.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it always does. I thought we led the most laps. The car that leads the most laps should win the race. But that's what we love about NASCAR: doesn't always work that way.
Q. Clint already talked about this. Different car tomorrow. Do you feel a little better about tire wear going into tomorrow's race?
CARL EDWARDS: Yeah, I feel all right with it. I didn't have any big trouble. Our tires looked pretty good. I was real tight at the beginning. We didn't have any trouble with the right front.
Clint kind of talked about it a little bit. I like the fact that this track gets rougher and slicker and there's different grip levels all over it. I was kind of sad to hear they were going to repave it. I wish they'd just kind of patch it up or do whatever they got to do. I took a little poll with the fans this morning.
CLINT BOWYER: Has anybody ever driven through Missouri (smiling)? If you've ever seen the highways in Missouri, that's why he likes them that way. That's what he's used to.
CARL EDWARDS: Well, for whatever reason (laughter). Missouri Department of Transportation, keynote speaker this winter here (laughter).
I like it. I like it. Yeah, I didn't have any trouble. That was my chance to talk about not wanting to pave it.
Did you watch that MU-KU game the other night, guys? (Laughter.)
KERRY THARP: Guys, thank you for putting on such a great show today and good luck tomorrow.
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