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Ford Performance NASCAR: Clint Bowyer Charlotte Media Availability

FORD PERFORMANCE MEDIA AVAILABILITY

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2020

Clint Bowyer comes into this weekend’s Round of 12 finale at the Charlotte Roval in need of a victory as he sits 11th in the playoff standings, trailing Joey Logano by 38 points for the final transfer position. Bowyer took part in a NASCAR Zoom call this afternoon to talk about his situation.

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang — WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE FRIENDS AND FAMILY AT KANSAS THIS WEEKEND. “Being able to have your family and friends there is everything. It’s not fun to do without people that make your life what it is, and forever it’s always been that way. I’m tired of Covid. I think we all are, but we’re doing what we have to do. We’re all doing what we have to do, whether it’s attached to racing, sports or life in general you’re doing what you’ve got to do to survive. I’m looking forward to going back home. It’s such a special place for me with family and friends there and fans to watch us do what we do. Our sport is not what it is without fans. I mean, obviously television does a phenomenal job covering our sport, but fans at the track in real life in front of you are what this sport was founded on and ultimately what’s gonna continue it on through the ages. This weekend, I’m looking forward to it. I don’t know if you’ve seen the forecast, but there’s a damn hurricane coming. I said hurricane, so it’s probably more than likely gonna be a washout. Hopefully, it will literally wash enough that it floods somehow. I’m gonna sneak in there and put a plug in the tunnel so it’ll just flood and that way we can’t race until Monday when the sun is out. I think if it does rain, boy, all hell is gonna break loose. There’s a lot of unknowns. I can say that — unknowns for all the above. Look out if it rains.”

IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT THIS WEEKEND, HOW WILL YOU EVALUATE THE SEASON? “I would say if we finish second, there’s a chance we may get in. If you finish second, more than likely you’re gonna add stage points to it and somebody is gonna have trouble. You’ve got to look at this thing as an opportunity and that’s what I’m looking at. I’ll take second. I want to win. It would be way easier to win, but, honestly, you’re only going one weekend anyway. You want to win one of these first ones of these three as you go through the playoffs. That’s what makes life easy. Like Kurt Busch did, winning that first race — off into the sunset — but I’ll take a Roval victory.”

IF YOU DON’T, HOW WILL YOU TAKE THIS YEAR? “I’m a racer. You’re going into race weekend. I ain’t talking about what ifs if it doesn’t happen. It’s gotta happen. It’s gotta happen now. It’s gotta happen this weekend. Covid sucks. 2020 hasn’t been much fun for anybody. This season has been tough. It’s been tough in so many different ways — on the teams, on everybody. It’s hard to honestly, fully — here’s the thing, and I just believe this — as it’s gotten better, and I don’t believe just because of my experience with it, but the proof is in the pudding — when you go out there and compete on a weekend you show up as a driver and you bring your stuff to the car. You show up a couple hours before the race, you get in it and you race as hard as you can, and go home. You try to make the best decisions you possibly can to make the best out of the situation. If you have a good day, you kind of leave thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know. I didn’t have much to do with the outcome other than just that moment.’ So much of any success in life has to do with the preparation beforehand, so it’s difficult. When you show up to the racetrack — literally our preparation for the races is Zoom meetings. I got in the simulator to prepare. I went down to Ford and spent some time in the simulator. I did the most I could, but you’re going to these tracks with a lot of guesswork on the table still. Sometimes you hit it and sometimes you don’t, so when you hit it kind of leave happy and obviously excited, but you’re like, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe.’ If you don’t hit it and you struggle that weekend, you kind of leave going, ‘Yeah, I don’t know. We’d have been way better off we had some time to dissect some of these things, AB some of these situations in a practice session or something else,’ but that’s not the case anymore. So I don’t want to say it’s an asterisk beside the year. It’s not that far, but I think the proof is in the pudding when you look at our results, going back to some of these tracks for the second time, using that first race as a somewhat of a practice session because that’s all we have. Look at Kyle Busch. Look at his results since he’s come back to these races for the second time. He’s been a lot better off and everybody is gonna have that same scenario, so it’s been a challenging year to say the least.”

WE HAVEN’T HEARD ANYTHING ON THE 14 FOR NEXT YEAR. HAVE YOU STARTED TALKING TO ANYBODY ELSE OUTSIDE OF STEWART-HAAS? “I talked to my wife the other night. It’s obviously time to begin those talks and Casey has been working on that stuff, but, honestly, look at the time. The timing is a crunch right now for me. I mean, it’s all about trying to get the most out of every single weekend to get through the playoffs, so, honestly, you asked me if I’ve been talking, no, I ain’t been talking. You’re trying to do the things you can do and, for me, the things that I’m good at is obviously doing the best I can do in that race car, but working with partners and trying to keep them on board. Times are not only tough for us with racing and everything else, they’re tough for companies, a lot of companies out there, so trying to keep them involved — figuring out where that is, how that stacks up, how you can help them help you and those are the conversations that I’m good at the kind of relations that I try to have on a daily basis with your partners and everything else regardless of your future, whether you go or whether you stay.”

HOW DO YOU ATTACK THE ROVAL IF IT’S WET? “Dude, I don’t know. I don’t know. that anybody knows. I was asking somebody just a couple days ago I’m like, ‘What do you do’ when it was becoming pretty apparent that we’re gonna have some rain, some moisture on our hands it’s like, ‘All right, do you do anything different with the setup?’ These are honest questions. Our sport as far as I’m concerned, I ran a race up in Montreal in Canada somewhere and we ran up there in the rain. I remember that XFINITY race, but it became too much. It was a flood. I remember literally hydroplaning across the infield and being like, ‘Hey, man. We’re not racing anymore. We’re surviving. What is this?’ I do remember that a little bit. I remember the biggest challenge of all of it was literally seeing. It wasn’t attacking the track or trying to figure out grip levels or setups or whatever else, it was flat-out just visually being able to see where you’re going. I think it was Carl Edwards. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I’ll never forget being under caution and you couldn’t see the car in front of you anymore and I think it was Carl, but don’t hold me to that — smoked the car in front of him and I think it ended their day, all under caution because you couldn’t even see him. That is going to be on everybody’s radar. All of our guys are trying to figure out what product works. Does Rain-X work? How good the windshield wipers work. Those are just things that, yes, our manufacturers can probably help with that stuff, but there are different tools. We don’t have glass windshields. We have Lexan windshields. There’s just so many different things that play into that. Defrosters and things like that, trying to not fog up. There’s just a lot of new things that are on the conversation table this week in preparation for this race to say the least.”

WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD WHEN YOUR BACK IS UP AGAINST THE WALL? “Honestly, I think it keeps me sharp, it keeps you focused on it, your eye on the ball. It doesn’t let you wander and lose focus and get your mind on something else. There is no time for that. I hate to say it, but I like being scared. It’s almost healthy for me. I didn’t realize it until I’ve been doing this a long time and usually when you’re on that bubble or something like that we’ve been able, for the most part, to prevail because you’re back is up against the wall and you’re out of options and there are no excuses or anything else. You just got to go out and get the job done. That’s always kind of been a healthy environment for me.”

YOUR AVERAGE FINISH IS 3.5 AT THE ROVAL, WHICH IS THIRD-BEST. “Pretty hard to believe that a 3.5 is third-best. My God. I do remember this damn 9 car winning last year off of his own caution. I’ll never forget that. Did he have us covered? There’s no question. He had the race won, but then he gave it up and then his very caution ended up winning him the race again, so anything can happen at the Roval. There’s no question about it.”

WHAT IS SILLY SEASON LIKE NOW COMPARED TO WHEN YOU FIRST GOT IN THE SPORT? “It’s totally different. I just said it, it’s unfortunate. It’s unfortunate for a lot of people involved. That’s the way it is. Unfortunately, it’s gonna happen every year. That’s where I think we’re evolving to is the long-term deals you’re just not able to get done anymore. I’ll never forget, when I went to RCR I went in and my first Cup sponsor there was a stack, it was literally a stack of those sponsors begging to get into the sport that you really chose which one worked best for your organization or your lifestyle, which one possibly could last longer — have longer legs. That’s what made up your mind. Yeah, it was a long-term, three-year deal. You didn’t want anything longer than that for selfish reasons. Now, it’s completely opposite. Now, no partner needs to be a long-term deal because that’s just the environment that we’re in. It’s the demand. We owe it all to ourselves to work hard and you guys are such a big part of that. You do such a great job of covering our sport and making us superstars. It doesn’t happen without you guys and your hard work of selling our story of NASCAR and the characters within. Characters, we drivers have to do their part. When I came into this sport there were a lot of characters. There were a lot of superstars and they did a good job of when we came in of handing us the reins to a gold mine and all of us drivers have to do a good job of working hard to make sure that we hand over those reins to these kids coming through — that they have a great opportunity for them and their families just like we did.”



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

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