CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP
ROUND 5 OF 10
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 14, 2016
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 15 5-HOUR ENERGY CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed the potential of getting a win at his home track, his outlook for next season as he joins Stewart-Haas Racing and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO COME BACK AND GET SUCH A WARM RESPONSE FROM THE PEOPLE HERE IN KANSAS CITY?
“Well I mean it’s always fun to come back here. This is home. A big race weekend for everybody, always host such a great event here. Pat (Warren, President of Kansas Speedway) and everybody they put on a good show. This is a neat area for everybody in the garage area what has become this thing, the shopping, casino, restaurants, there are other sporting venues over here. All within walking distance for a fan and then cap it all off with a great race on Sunday. You can’t ask for a better sporting complex and an area to put on an event like this.”
WHERE ARE YOU AT COMPETITIVELY? HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING NEXT YEAR AND WHERE YOU ARE AT NOW?
“Certainly, it’s always natural to start thinking about next year. You better be this time of year no matter if you are moving or staying the same and nothing changes. That is how far in advance you have to look in this sport and work. All the organizations are lining themselves us and gearing up for next year, all the while, there is a lot of racing left to do in 2016. Last weekend is a prime example. I look over and I see all the Stewart-Haas cars up front, qualified well, Danica (Patrick) was fast, all the cars raced well. Those are the things that you look at and get excited for next year. But, hey, you’ve got an opportunity to come back home and race and compete in front of your hometown crowd, like I said, there is plenty of racing to do and things to accomplish this year. We’ve got to cap it off well and start to get focused on next year. It is exciting. You get emails, like I was telling somebody last night, an email came across my phone and I look over and its No. 14 merchandise approvals for next year. You are like ‘holy cow’ it’s becoming reality. It’s fixing to pick up in a big way.”
TONY STEWART SAYS YOU ARE LIKE HAVING TWO PEOPLE ON THE ROSTER:
“Well, I think that is a good fit because I think we know there is two of him too (laughs). I think it would be a perfect role for me to work into. Just a great outfit over there, everybody from the top to the bottom, the teammates, I’ve worked with Kevin (Harvick) for many years. I’m looking forward to Kurt (Busch). Kurt is the one that I’ve never really known a lot about. Always raced against him, but never worked with him in any way shape or form. Danica, I’m closer to her than probably some of the others, so I’m just looking forward to it. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be a neat atmosphere and something that 10 years into this thing one of the best opportunities ever is at your doorstep and fixing to happen. It’s pretty cool.
WHAT SORT OF DISCUSSION AND PREPARATION HAVE YOU GUYS HAD FOR NEXT YEAR SO FAR?
“Those conversations started months ago with Buga (Mike Bugarewicz) the crew chief. That is the neat thing about it is I didn’t have to call and say ‘alright what are we doing here, what is the game plan, what do I need to do, always having to take care of everything. It’s finally going to be a relief to just show up and be a part of the team and do your job. And that job, your one and only job, is to drive that race car to the best of your ability and get the most out of it. Obviously, being a good teammate, being a good spokesperson for your sponsors and partners and stuff like that is always a big part of what we do in this world. Just looking forward to being in a situation where you can go out and know that if the equipment is there that you will have a good weekend. That is all you can ask for as a race car driver.”
TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR PRACTICE WENT AND TRACK CONDITIONS:
“It threw everybody for a loop. Even me being from Kansas, you know don’t expect consistency in Kansas it never works. It’s just like we had charity event last night, the night before the wind was straight out of the north, blowing right in the back doors of our building that we have. I’m thinking ‘man we won’t be able to have quite as neat of an event as I was hoping for.’ Then last night it was beautiful outside, no wind and had people inside and outside and all over. You just never know. Then you wake up from that and I drove the motorhome up this morning and been in a light rain/mist all the way here. You are thinking ‘man are we even going to get started on time.’ We did. The track was extremely fast. The mist was out of here and you can kind of see the sun burning through right now, but I look forward, hopefully those clouds kind of stay there that will help the track stay consistent as we move into qualifying. There is more rubber getting on the track as we speak right now with the Xfinity cars. All these things are going to play a role as these teams are trying to calculate what to do to their set-up’s or their cars to make sure they maintain the speed where they are at on the charts if not better them.”
KIND OF A BUMMER NO ROYALS IN THE POST SEASON:
“Yeah, it is. It’s always fun and just a great deal of pride goes into their last couple of years especially have just been awesome. This year was. Obviously, they had a rough stretch and just couldn’t get it turned around in time. There were a lot of reasons I think. It wasn’t necessarily just their fault. You have injuries. You have people get sidelined and I think that plagued them for a long time. Anytime you show up to a ballpark and there is a guy with a jacked up Jeep with a moose mount on the top of it I was say he is a key player. When you lose a key player you lose energy and that is not only on the field it is all the way through.”
WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT THE CHASE STRUCTURE?
“You know the Chase is so important to our sport. It’s a really difficult thing. If it’s on your side and it’s working your way that year it’s a hell of a thing. If it’s not it’s a hell of a thing. It’s just one of those things to where you look at Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin last week. Potentially a part failure could ruin their whole season. There is that side of it. But then you look at another guy Jimmie Johnson, wins the race and he on to the next round. There are a lot of things there that can happen in a short amount of time. It’s a hard thing I would think for a sanctioning body to try to make it a level playing for everybody. It’s the time of the year where all gloves are off. You have to push as hard as you can. You have to get the most out of every single thing all season long you are making a notebook of everything you could possibly get away with and then all of a sudden all the marbles are on the line and you’ve got to put it out there. You’ve got to take those chances. It’s a wild, crazy; there are so many moving parts to what make these cars such a simple concept back in the day. It’s amazing what engineering has done to this sport and to these race cars. It’s old technology, truck arms, they have been on a Chevrolet pickup since the ’60’s and you take that and all the things that we are doing with a simple rear-end concept that we have had for years and it’s unbelievable what these teams do with that concept.”
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY DRIVERS HANDLE THE TRACK AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR? WHO HAS GOT THE BIGGER CROWD YOU OR CARL EDWARDS SINCE YOU BOTH CALL THIS YOUR HOME TRACK?
“I mean certainly Carl (Edwards) is competing for a championship. I would hope that my fans included are rooting for him being the local guy and a fan favorite here for all of us. I know he wants to win here just as bad as I do. I know that a win here would catapult him into a shot at a championship. I like Carl; he has always been a lot of fun. I remember the first time I ever met Carl and raced against him. It’s just one of those things. You respect a guy like that and you appreciate him and his talents and abilities on the race track. He will win. He’s going to win here one of these days. You just hope you can beat him to it.
“You can’t possibly sell the level of intensity, the level of competition within this Chase. It is insane. There is so much pressure and now you look at these teams that one little wreck, one little miscue last weekend you’ve got five teams that are racing for one position. I mean that level of intensity if through the roof. Their level of anxiety whether it’s the race car driver, the tire changer, the crew chief, the engineer all the way across the board those guys got to be at their very best. If they are not they are going to be out and miss another year’s chance at a championship. The way that thing is you just can’t miss. Inside this Chase one little mishap and you are done and there is going to be somebody else in your place.”
WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGE HAS IT BEEN FOR YOU IN THE CAR THIS YEAR?
“I guess the biggest thing about it is you have to find things out of anything in life that you can use as an advantage. For me I’ve learned a lot. This sport is hard. It’s so competitive. I guess you could say you take things for granted sometimes and speed and competition is certainly one of those things. When you are in cars that are running up front it’s the easiest thing ever. You are running back there in 20th-place land and it opened my eyes to how hard those guys are driving back there. You give and take up front and it’s the way I’ve always driven let a spot go you are going to get it later, next pit stop this extra round of wedge is going to get me right back and I will get around him no big deal we’ve got a long race. Back there every position, every spot, whether it’s on pit road, on a restart, 20 laps into a run you can’t afford to give anything up. It’s extremely difficult to race in that mid-pack land. I’m looking forward to using that. I think I’ve learned a lot from the racing on the race track and I’ve learned a lot about myself. This isn’t easy and I think hopefully we can get back in here and there are going to be these seats filled again. And I’ve got a beer in my hand because the trophy is sitting right there right? That is what we do this for.”
HAS THIS YEAR BEEN HARDER THAN YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE?
“Of course it has. I’ve never struggled like this. I take some of that blame too. It’s not one thing. It is so many different things that go into these race cars. It’s just amazing. I used to race down there and win championships and win races and you would pull in there didn’t matter what happened I knew I was going to win. If it was a little bit off or whatever else a little more wedge than it needed to be, drop the trackbar a little bit more than I wanted, it didn’t matter I knew I was going to win. It’s a situation to where those roles reverse and you don’t have the upper hand on those guys and it’s a hell of a challenge and that is where we are at right now. But, I think when you get, hopefully, get in a situation to where those doubts and those things are out you get those gremlins out of your head and you can compete at the level that you know you are capable of.”
HOW DO YOU THINK YOU WILL LOOK BACK ON THIS YEAR?
“Again, you’ve got to use it. It doesn’t matter what comes at you it doesn’t matter how low you are running or how good you are running you’ve got to be able to take something out of this. Like I said earlier, I got a lot that I’m going to be able to take out of this year and learn for. Whether that is on the race track or off the race track there have been a lot of good things happen. I watch my little boy start to grow up. Now he will call you Daddy and say come on let’s go to the playground. Those things have changed for me. Going to the playground in between practice sessions is something new for me. There have been a lot of good things happen this year and unfortunately the result on the race track wasn’t one of those.”
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