NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: AMP Energy Juice 500
Topics: AMP Energy Juice 500
October 31, 2010
KERRY THARP: Let's roll into our race-winning team here at Talladega Superspeedway. Our race winner is Clint Bowyer. He's also joined by his crew chief, Scott Miller. This is Clint's fourth career win, his first victory here at Talladega, and his second win in 2010. Coming ever so close to 10th place in the points battle as you turned into a terrific effort out there today.
Talk about the win and maybe some of the anticipation there at the end before you were officially declared the winner.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, going back to your points thing, before this race I didn't think I was going to have a shot at walking across the stage. I knew I was going to have to go to Vegas, but they kick you out shortly after you get done with the media. Maybe I can walk across the stage if I keep this up. A little dig (laughter).
Just very, very happy for a lot of reasons. Everybody at RCR has worked very hard to get us back. To have Kevin racing for a championship is where obviously Jeff and I wanted to be. But to have him still in a shot at winning a championship, that's very important. To be able to win two races in a Chase for our race team is very important.
Shane built an awesome racecar. Scott has done a great job all year long of being a competition director and filling that role that we never had, filling the void. To be able to step in and come close to winning two races in the four races he's been here is pretty incredible. So very proud of the job that he's done stepping in for us.
Just proud of everybody to be able to give up our crew, to make sure that Kevin had the best opportunity to win a championship, and to win a race with his crew is what they needed, what we needed as a race team. You couldn't ask for a better day.
KERRY THARP: Scott, what were some of the keys you think from your crew standpoint in getting today's win?
SCOTT MILLER: Well, you know, we brought some really good racecars to the track. Really the whole race is about Clint did a fantastic job of putting himself in a position to win. We tested the waters a lot all day long to see what would work and what wouldn't work. Fortunately some of the things he found during the race worked out for us there at the end.
The key to everything today was having a fast racecar and him putting himself in the right position to be able to win the race. So it was just one of those days where everything lined up. Fortunately we're sitting here talking to all of you.
KERRY THARP: Team owner Richard Childress, which is your 11th win at Talladega, that's most among any car owner in the history of the sport, and certainly sweeping the two races here at Talladega this year with Kevin winning in the spring and then now Clint winning, it's got to be a happy day for you.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It is. Especially standing in the winner's circle a while ago with Clint, the team, it was real special because it brought back memories of being here 10 years ago with Dale Earnhardt when he won this race. I was thinking about that.
The job Scott Miller has done for us all year long helped put us in this position. To be able to step in and do what he's done, I'm really proud of that.
Clint Bowyer, he'll go down in history as one of the great restrictor plate racers, just like Kevin. Him and Kevin both were up there. Didn't know which one won it. My grandson said, We know we won it, so let's go to the winner's circle. I was sitting there kind of numb until he told me that.
KERRY THARP: We'll take questions.
Q. Clint, I asked you on Friday about redemption, if you really felt you needed a win to take the sting off of New Hampshire. Are you feeling any better?
CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. It's been six races, sixth race of the Chase?
CLINT BOWYER: Today is the seventh. Not very good at math. Haven't been paying much attention since the first one (laughter).
We were real close to winning three of the seven races we participated in in this Chase, that's due to great preparation from Shane Wilson and everybody on this 33 team. It was important to me to get my 33 pit crew guys. A lot of people don't realize how much work goes into this. Those pit crew guys, the guys that build the bodies, build these racecars week in and week out at the race shop, to be able to win, it is redemption. It finally puts that behind me as a racecar driver, as a person, and us as a race team.
Q. Have you heard from Shane yet?
CLINT BOWYER: I don't have my phone on me. It's kind of a bittersweet deal. I'm sure he's probably sitting at home, celebrating as he always does. Probably had a couple extras just for the depression side of it, as well (laughter).
Q. Richard, you said you were numb there while you were waiting. Was there anything going through your mind? You got two cars probably for the first time in your career, you're involved where NASCAR has to make a ruling, but both of your cars are in it. Does anything go back and forth in your mind? I have a guy that can make a dent in this Chase standings things, but Clint has had a rough time. Anything that goes back and forth about who has won this thing, about which would be better for you?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No. We talked earlier in the year. Although we're racing for the championship, it comes down to a win. It may be different at Homestead, but not really.
If you have a chance to win a Cup race, you got to go after it. I just told him, If it comes down to the win, you guys have got to do what you got to do. I was just happy for both of them, especially Kevin and Clint. Both of them got beat up a little bit in that one incident on the backstretch. To be able to come back and run 1-2, I couldn't be happier.
Like I said, I was kind of wondering which one won and if it was real, because the scoreboard never went up to 188, it stayed at 187. I was a little concerned about that.
Q. Richard, you've been doing this an awful long time. Give us your thoughts on having a points race with three races to go where you have three guys who are virtually dead even. What do you see the outcome? Does anybody have an advantage?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: All three races Kevin Harvick is really good at. In the same sense, so is Denny and Jimmie both. Those are really good racetracks for all three teams. I think whoever can sit there and pull off some wins is going to be the team to win the championship. We have to give everything we got. Proud of our whole organization for putting us in this position.
10 races to go when all three of them made the Chase, we all sat down and said, No matter who it is, when it comes down to the end, Clint, Jeff or Kevin, we're going to throw everything at it we can to win this championship. That's what every one of our people have done.
We had Clint in a position to win in 2007 and Kevin was right up in there in 2008 and we were off in 2009, we've been there contending for the championship. This is the closest we've been in contending with three to go.
Q. Clint, you didn't wait for NASCAR to say you had been declared the winner. At this point of the season and Chase, did you say, What the hell, I got nothing else to lose?
CLINT BOWYER: Hell, yeah. Claim that baby before somebody else does (laughter).
Q. Richard, to be this close in the championship, as far as off as you got for a while, as quickly as you've come back, your thoughts to be sort of kicked around like the old tin can for a bit? You have a guy on a possible championship.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Again, like I said, I'm really proud of what everybody's accomplished this year. Everybody forgets where we were at. You remember the bad years. We had good years in 2007. Like I said, Clint was a contender for the championship. Kevin and Clint was right there in 2008. We were just off in 2009. But the end of 2009, the last 10 races in the Chase, our cars would have been right up there if you would have just took the points.
But we felt good coming into this year. Hopefully Kevin can pull it off. We're going to throw everything at it we can.
Q. Clint, you have two wins in the Chase. The races after New Hampshire, you kind of threw away. So much turmoil in and around the team. When you see the fact you win at New Hampshire, win at Talladega, know how competitive your team is, do you wonder what if that deal didn't happen at New Hampshire?
CLINT BOWYER: Absolutely. If that hadn't of happened at New Hampshire, you would have had your normal deal, what got us there. I always look forward to the Chase because these are some of the best racetracks for me. You go back and look at my stats. These are good racetracks for our race team and for me as a racecar driver.
You know, that deal was, I'm still frustrated. Took the wind out of my sails. The two races after that whole mess, it was a disaster. If we had that back, we were along our normal routine, I don't think we would have had those bad runs that we've had. It's pretty uncharacteristic of our race team to have those two wins here in the Chase and then three really bad races.
So it has been very frustrating. Haven't had much to look forward to. Didn't have much to look forward to, other than the fact I knew my racecar was very, very fast going into this race. I knew there was a lot of preparation put in place. The engine boys were very happy. When those boys are excited about something, you better get excited as a racecar driver because you've got something that is probably going to be an advantage.
There was one time in the race, Richard was the -- I was like, Hey, get Junior out of there. There's going to be five RCR cars in line. Good picture for the engine boys. Get him out of there. Need a good picture for the engine shop. He was the only one with the common sense to say, You're pretty good right where you're at.
Maybe we can Photo Shop him out of there. It would be a pretty good picture (laughter).
Q. Clint, when you and Kevin were sitting down there like two highway patrolman slapping hands, was that all y'all were doing? Could you even hear each other? Were you saying anything? Could you even see each other?
CLINT BOWYER: We were celebrating the win. The highway patrolman, they're celebrating giving somebody an expensive ticket.
No, just thrilled for RCR. I mean, you got to think about all the hard work that goes into it. It's not just us racecar drivers. When you're at that race shop every day, you realize the passion for this sport, no different than you have as a racecar driver. The sacrifices their families make for them to work day in and day out at the racetrack, the weekends. Those guys are the hardest-working people in this sport. They get done here. All of us take it easy for the week, and we go back to our job on the weekends. Their jobs start 7:00 on Monday morning.
To realize how much hard work and dedication goes into those cars, that's what makes you the proudest, the pride in Victory Lane, to know what it means to those guys.
Q. Clint, the incident that damaged Kevin's car, it looked like you got into the back of Marcos. What exactly transpired?
CLINT BOWYER: You know I was pushing the 18. I think he was a little bit on the apron. I was kind of stuck pushing him. I was like, Where the hell are you going? It left me in a bad position, and the 47. More importantly, it probably left the 47 in the worse situation. He was four-wide, tight corners. Kind of checked up. I was behind him. When you check up at the speeds you run here, you know, I turned him around.
But then I looked in the mirror and I saw Kevin was tore up. I was just sick. It makes you sick to your stomach. You don't want to be the guy, have all the people on the racetrack to take RCR and all the employees out of a championship. I was pretty sick about it.
But as soon as he got back up there, I pushed him, went right back up to the front, I was like, Well, thank God.
Q. Here are the numbers. You're only 60 points out of seventh place. How incredible would it be to even think about that kind of finish when you spotted everybody 150 points?
CLINT BOWYER: I've never finished outside the top five. So seventh is still very frustrating. I'm disappointed that we're in the situation we're in. Take a lot of pride making the Chase. It's very difficult. That's a very elite group of people that get a chance to be Chase contenders in this sport.
I don't want it to lose the impact of being in the Chase. It's very hard to be in the Chase. The teams that are in it, it's important to and special to. Certainly when you are a part of that elite group, you don't want to be the last guy in line. You want to be one of the ones competing for a championship. That's the reason you're in that thing.
KERRY THARP: Richard and Clint, congratulations. Terrific victory today. Good luck at Texas.
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