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Ford Performance NASCAR: Clint Bowyer Media Availability

Ford Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Toyota/Save Mart 350 (Sonoma Raceway; Sonoma, CA)
Friday, June 22, 2018

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford, met with media members ahead of opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice at Sonoma Friday afternoon.

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 One Cure Ford Fusion — HISTORICALLY YOU HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL HERE AT SONOMA AND YOU COME OFF A WIN AT MICHIGAN. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY TO MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW? “Just to get settled in and comfortable on the race track and get your car comfortable. That is the biggest thing. You heard Kyle (Larson) talking about all the challenges at this race track and it presents all of them. The forward bite issues and the high speed section and you have to have good aero grip through the high speed section. It is very technical up through the hill. It is the short track of road racing. And who am I to say that? I am not a road racer and haven’t really been on anything other than these two that we race on. It has always felt like a little bullring short track somewhere in the midwest. It just happens to be that you go right and shift gears all at the same time.”

YOU ARE ONE OF FOUR GUYS WITH MULTIPLE WINS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE PART OF THE IN CROWD FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON? “Certainly part of the in organization right now. Stewart-Haas Racing and Ford and the job that Doug Yates and his crew is doing on these engines. It is a lethal package right now. This is a humbling sport and I have been all over the place with it. High, low and everywhere in between. It just makes you appreciate the ride you are on right now and the group that I am around. We are hitting on all eight cylinders and getting the most out of our weekends and starting to get the consistency back that we were kind of lacking last year. The capability is there within the team. It is a team effort. It was a team effort at Michigan and it will take a team effort this weekend to conquer this racetrack and the competition on it. This is a fun weekend though. I spent the off-weekend thinking about this weekend. With the off-weekend like we had, it just doesn’t matter what you are doing. I was sitting at the lake watching the kids swim and was thinking about turn 7 and putting the throttle down and who was going to dive bomb me and piss me off in 11 or what I was going to do to them and who was going to be in in your mirror, how you are going to navigate turn 4 and all the challenges of this race track. You catch yourself daydreaming about the lines on the race track and all the experiences you’ve had on and off the race track.”

HOW MUCH MORE FUN IS IT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW WITH THINGS GOING SO WELL? “It is a lot of fun. It is well documented. You guys do a great job covering our sport and you can see the happiness and fun that is in our group right now. It is a ton of fun to be able to win at this level of auto racing. It is a dream come true to compete at this level and once you are sitting in victory lane and you’ve beaten the best of the best, there is no feeling like it. To be able to share that with the men and women of Stewart-Haas Racing in victory lane, there is absolutely no gratification like that.”

RUNNING WELL AND WINNING HERE IS SO DIFFERENT FROM ANYTHING ELSE. HOW DID YOU COME TO EMBRACE ROAD RACING? “I think you embrace this track and road racing in general just like you do Martinsville. Nobody shows up at Martinsville and goes to the top of the board and is fast and has success and navigates traffic to win that race right off the bat. It just doesn’t happen and it doesn’t happen here either. It is an acquired taste just like the wine right down the street. I am telling ya, it is. This place is a beast and so is that win the first time you try it. It is like, ‘Damn, I don’t know about all this.’ Next thing you know you are a little longer in the tooth and you are like, ‘Hey, let’s go get some wine!’ This race track is so much like pulling in one of those vineyards as you go through life. You have to be able to have fun on this race track. It is a challenge. Each and every corner is different. There is no perfect setup or perfect line. It is literally one of the only tracks you go to where you are out there racing and have a smile on your face. YOu might even get a chuckle. You may go into the corner and slip up and be pissed because the guy behind you that you spent three laps passing got around you and maybe the next corner he drives off the track and you might be like, ‘Ha!’ That is the quick chuckle that I am talking about that only road racing or something like Sonoma can present.”

SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THAT MAYBE THE FAN BASE HAS DWINDLED OFF IN THE SPORT. DO YOU FEEL THAT? WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT? “Every track is different and every area is different. We are all in this together. I think the product is as good as it has ever been. That is not an argument, That is stats. That is facts. The racing is better than it has ever been. Our tracks, they put on a show. They put on a party. They put on an event. It is not just those race cars on the track that put on that event. You have to be able to entertain the people, our fans, all weekend long. If you are going to invite them to the race track, you have to be able to put on a show and have them come back to their families and friends with memories and moments that they remember. That doesn’t just entail those race cars being on the race track. Sometimes I think we make a mistake of just focusing on that. When I go to a football game, I go to Chiefs games in the winter time. I can’t wait to go back. Can’t wait to tailgate at Arrowhead. It is the best damn time I have ever had with my buddies. We go and let our hair down and have fun. Believe it or not I have left there and went, ‘Hey, who won?’ It is an event, not just a football game. You are there for the football game and there for the racing, but you are there for a good time.”

NEXT WEEK IS CHICAGO. WILL THAT FEEL STRANGE? HOW DIFFERENT WILL THAT TRACK BE IN JULY THAN IN THE FALL? “Yeah, a buddy of mine at the lake was asking when I was going to come back and I didn’t know. My wife was like, ‘After Chicago, before July 4th.’ and I was like, ‘Do what? No.’ I was all messed up on my schedule. Chicago has always been a cool race track. It is a sister track to my home track in Kansas and that fan base up there is that midwestern fan base that I feel most comfortable with and enjoy going to that race track and interacting with them in the infield and everything else. Again, we are fortunate to be able to race all over the country and see different people in different ways of life. What works in Chicago may not work in Sonoma. They don’t drink wine at the race track in Chicago. It is Busch Lite. You come out here and you are going to have people drinking vino out there and watching a good race. That is what is cool about being able to race all across the country.”

NASCAR’S DECISION TO HOLD OFF UNTIL NEXT YEAR ON THE ALL-STAR PACKAGE. GOOD IDEA? “It is their idea. Their decision. They do a great job. There is so much going on in this sport and we looked at that and tried it in the All-Star race. That is a great format to be able to do that and it showed promise but there is still more to learn. I heard it just like you. I was off this weekend just like you were and probably read it on Twitter just like you did and started calling the boys at home. I appreciated that we tried that and appreciate that it showed some promise for our future and also appreciate that what we have right now it just fine to be able to go for a championship and hopefully be a part of that with the 14 car.”

WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SO TECHNICAL COMPARED TO WATKINS GLEN? “Watkins Glen is so fast. It is just dive-bombs and you are really carrying a lot of speed at a place like Watkins Glen. Here, it is like that short track. It is like being at Martinsville. Did you see my car at the end of the race last year? It was destroyed. I drove up through and passed the field twice because of mistakes that we made and got spun out once. It was a wild race to be able to finish second. You can’t do that at Watkins Glen. That car wouldn’t have ran in the top-10 at Watkins Glen. Braking, getting into these corners. Sitting here looking at 11, I know when I get in this car you have to be on your game over there. You go through that little swell and the car unloads and it is really easy to wheel-hop and you have to get it whoaed down to get on the bottom down there and get that thing launched off the corner and up through the gears up on the hill, blind corner, this track just has way more than other tracks. Watkins Glen, you go up through that hill but you can see the other side. You pop the crest of the hill up there and come back down it and you are like, ‘I think I’m good, I think I’m good. I’m not good. I’m in the dirt.’ It is just one of those tracks that you have got to be on your game and it is very, very technical and the minute you are not, you are off the race track and in trouble.”

HAVE YOU BEEN ON THE CHARLOTTE ROAD COURSE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPECTATIONS? “I haven’t been on it. I haven’t even watched a lap around it. I don’t even know what the track looks like to be honest. I know it is at Charlotte Motor Speedway and I am looking forward to getting there but this race track that is ahead of us right now is the one. This is the one we are here to put a show on for. The fans come out. This is an event. This is the event that we all need to take a look at because it showcases the best racing on the race track that NASCAR, that we can possibly provide. Then you look around in the grandstands and on the back straightaway and people are having a good time and enjoying this event. It isn’t just a race.”

THIS WILL BE THE FIRST TIME THERE ARE THREE ROAD COURSES ON THE NASCAR SCHEDULE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OF ADDING MORE ROAD COURSE RACES? “I think it is a good product for our sport. Ever since we went to that “Car of Tomorrow”, it has been great road racing. I think you can pinpoint that. When we went to that and started coming out here it was like, ‘Oh, this is awesome.’ It has always provided that. I think it provides a good product on the race track. Watkins Glen is another packed house with sold out crowds. My wife is from up there and I know people around there and I have met them and I know the impact that event and race makes on that area. Guy Fieri, I was at his house last night and he is coming to camp out with his buddies. You feel the excitement and the buzz in this area because of us rolling into town. I think we could do that at Road America or Road Atlanta. I want to be careful. Just because you have a road course in the middle of your circle track, I don’t think we need to be doing those. I would like to see our sport go to some other venues and race in front of some new faces.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON STAGE RACING NOW THAT YOU’VE BEEN DOING IT AWHILE? “It is good. The fastest cars get all the stage points and win the races. It is just that way. Has it created some buzz and excitement throughout the race? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, if you are sitting at the craps table and betting on the fastest car probably getting the most stage points and winning the race, your odds are pretty damn good. That is racing. It has been that way since i was five years old racing motorcycles. If that red-headed kid from Florida showed up, he was the guy you had to beat and most people couldn’t beat him.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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