NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 30, 2011
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 WHEATIES FUEL CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed the race this weekend, the increase in blocking, his thoughts on winning his first Cup race and much more. Full transcript.
TALK ABOUT YOUR MINDSET COMING INTO DAYTONA, 10 RACES TO GO BEFORE THE CHASE AND YOU’RE CERTAINLY IN THE HUNT: “Yeah, coming in here to Daytona I’m excited. We had a good run out at Sonoma and coming into a race track where we typically run well and I know the boys have been working hard on the cars. We were good in practice and I’m looking forward to the race tomorrow night. I think it’s going to be exciting.”
YESTERDAY IT LOOKED LIKE IN THE TWO-CAR DRAFTS MOST GUYS WERE PULLING OUT TO THE RIGHT LIKE HALF A CAR MORE THAN IN FEBRUARY, IS THAT BECAUSE YOU NEED MORE AIR? “It’s hotter outside first of all. Quite a bit, considerably hotter and I think that’s the biggest part of having to pull out a little bit more than in February just from the sure temperature alone. It’s the same for everybody. Everybody has to be able to breathe that thing. But doing that it really busts that hole open in front of another set of cars to be able to suck up to you and go on by you and be able to make a pass. It’s the same for everybody. You’re gonna have to get out there and perfect it and make the most out of it in the race tomorrow night. I think the one that does that the most and can keep it together and not have to switch as often as the next guy is going to prevail.”
TONY STEWART WAS IN HERE JUST A FEW MINUTES AGO AND WAS MAKING IT PRETTY CLEAR THAT WHATEVER HE WAS DOING WITH BRIAN VICKERS LAST WEEKEND, NEXT TIME WHEN SOMEONE BLOCKS HIM HE’S GOING TO MAKE SURE THEY CAN’T COME BACK; WHAT’S GOING ON OVER THERE AND ARE YOU GUYS GETTING UPSET OVER PEOPLE BLOCKING YOU OR IS THAT TONY JUST BEING TONY? “What happened last week? (laughter) Can you tell me? It’s the closeness of the competition. It’s so hard to get an edge on the next guy. It always has to happen right on a restart or something like that when we are bunched up and you’re able to capitalize on somebody slipping up or whatever and it certainly happens at those road courses almost even more so than any other place. It’s like you are trying to make a pass on somebody and you have to move up out of the preferred groove and you slip up and the guy behind you sticks his nose in there and you’re like come on man. He ends up getting around you while you were trying to pass the next guy and you passed him two laps ago. So it’s a difficult situation and you run out of patience very, very quickly when something like that happens. I think getting back to the closeness of the racing you are seeing people take moves and chances at passes that aren’t necessarily there and doing that I think that people are blocking more so than they used to block. Tony has been around for a long time so yes I would say he’s seeing blocking a heck of a lot more than he used to be but I think it’s just because of the closeness of the competition and as hard as it is to pass you’re doing everything you can do to try to keep that guy behind you.”
WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOU ARE MOST COMFORTABLE WITH FANS AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY FOR NASCAR TO BRING THE YOUNG FANS INTO THIS SPORT? “I’m a firm believer in promoting and racing and I’m a firm believer in a quality product on the race track. You have a good quality product on the track, it doesn’t matter any kind of motorsports it is, they are going to come out and follow it. This sport has had that for a long time, many years. I think we’ve had great races this year. I think we’ve had some that need to improve. That being said to the younger crowd, what’s always separated this sport from any other sport is the accessibility to the drivers. I think that is something we are all proud of and I think that’s something we’ve had success with and we need to continue that even more so in these tough times.”
GIVEN THE EXCITEMENT LEVEL OF LAST WEEKEND’S RACE AND JUST HOW EVERYBODY HAS REALLY STEPPED UP FOR ROAD COURSES, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ONE ADDED TO THE CHASE? “Yeah, that’s a good question, but the answer is no. It’s such a wildcard race. So many things come into play there. You can get taken out just as easily as you can get a good finish. You can run out of gas just as easily as you can make it on gas. There’s just so many things that are completely out of your control. Yes, you’re taking gambles and things like that I just think that there is so much on the line in a 10-race Chase with something as prestigious as a championship in this sport and to be able to have something – we have a superspeedway race and I think that’s a big enough wildcard. I think that a road course is just a little too much.”
CAN YOU GIVE ME YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WINNING YOUR FIRST SPRINT CUP RACE AND WHAT IT MEANT TO YOU? “It means everything. Everything you ever have worked your whole life for. Not only you, your whole family. I mean everybody has had the same upbringing pretty much in this sport. It’s been a family sport. For myself since day one since we were four years old, we were racing motorcycles and everything else and to have my parents there and have the family there that helped me get there in victory lane just meant the world to me. You know it’s a lot of hard work on a lot of people’s parts and it means probably as much as anything to be able to give back to those guys that have worked their butts off to make sure you had a car capable of winning. That’s a very fun situation to be able to enjoy with guys that have worked so hard.”
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET OVER THE DAYTONA 500 RACE THAT YOU MAY COULD HAVE WON? “Yeah, it was very difficult. The last two or three years we’ve been competitive and had ourselves in a situation where I felt like if things went right we could. It was like with six laps to go I think we got wiped out from out of the clear blue last time but I think we were one of about six cars that was going to win that race. The other four ended up going on and winning the race. One of them did so very hard to not forget about that. It is the Daytona 500, you only have one shot a year at that but we had a good car, very competitive at these superspeedways and if we play our cards right we will be again this time.”
WHAT’S THE WEIRDEST THING YOU’VE EVER BEEN ASKED TO AUTOGRAPH? “The weirdest or the most exciting? (laughter). The weirdest, a fake leg. That was kind of strange. The guy actually took it off and handed it to you laughing. You didn’t know whether to laugh with him, it was kind of uncomfortable. That was probably the weirdest. It’s just amazing to me, it always blows my mind, you know I grew up in Kansas racing dirt cars and it’s always a privilege to me to have somebody come up and ask for your autograph. When you see somebody wearing your t-shirt in the pit area or in the fans or anywhere, it’s a sense of proud and you feel like you owe then something to go out and try as hard as you can to try to win the race for them.”
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