TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Clint Bowyer — Notes & Quotes
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – July 26, 2013
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 RKMotorsCharlotte.com Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Are you happy to be back at the race track?
“It’s good to be back to the race track — it seems like we’ve been gone a month. It seems like I’ve been gone a month. That was a big off-weekend for me. We had our charity golf tournament, dirt racing, Truck racing on dirt — there were a lot of things going on. Fun to be back here. It’s kind of weird to get back in the swing of things — this is one of the biggest races of the year. Looking forward to getting back in the car and working with Brian (Pattie, crew chief) and all the guys. Everybody at MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) is doing such a great job. So proud of both of my teammates for getting into victory lane. Obviously, I need to get my butt in gear and get in victory lane, but certainly proud of where we’re at in the standings and everything. Just have to keep this momentum swing going and we keep building so we can hit this Chase in stride. If our wins come this year, I would just as soon they come in the Chase anyway so we can have a shot at the championship.”
Where does Indianapolis rank in terms of prestige?
“I think it’s second — it’s the obvious second. It’s the Daytona 500 and then the Brickyard. It has been ever since I’ve been in the sport. You would hear people talk about the Southern 500 and things like that, but for my generation and my era I definitely think it’s those two trophies.”
Did you enjoy being part of the Truck Series broadcast at Eldora or did you want to be racing?
“A little bit of both. It was a lot of fun. I thought Mark Smith (Speed NCWTS producer) and believe it or not, Michael (Waltrip) and a lot of the guys did a great job of covering the race. I thought the coverage was good. Basically, I was stuck in a cage in there in the ‘Hollywood Hotel’ with my world racing out there and it was really hard to sit there and watch. I thought the night went down very well. I thought the racing was good. Everybody was thinking, ‘Man, why is the track so dry-slick?’ It led to great racing. I’ve raced at Eldora (Speedway) in the ‘Prelude (to the Dream’) and watched my dirt late models race there and just again proud of NASCAR for taking a chance with that and I believe that many great things came out of it. I think it opened some eyes to some options with this sport. Not just talking dirt racing, but I thought the Wednesday night deal was a different appeal that I liked and kind of gave us a chance to showcase our sport to maybe a different crowd.”
What other race tracks help you prepare for Indianapolis?
“They always say Pocono I guess — a lot of people in the garage area think Pocono. I don’t think I ran very well at Pocono so I’m going to say that there is nothing that is like Indy. There isn’t man. It is so fast. You get down there to the end of the straightaway and that baby bends hard left. The first time you’re out on the race track you think there is no way in hell that I’m going to make that corner and she goes right around there and you just have to work on your balance and perfect it from there. It gets your attention probably more than any race track that I go to. You’re carrying so much speed down into the corner the first few times you’re around this baby — you’re pretty wound up.”
Did you ever want to race open wheel at Indianapolis?
“I was pretty much always a stock car guy. Modifieds don’t have front fenders on them, but they certainly have rear quarter panels on them. I need fenders. I grew up learning to lean on each other and put on a good show and those things wheel-hop pretty bad. I drove a sprint car one time and that was enough for me. That was my open wheel career. I think it’s fitting and I think it’s neat to watch these stock cars race on this race track. It’s important to all of us. The history and tradition behind this race track is so special for everybody. It doesn’t matter if you follow racing or not — everybody knows about Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the prestige that it holds. It’s an honor to be able to race here, it really is.”
Are you disappointed in not having a win, but still surprised to be right behind Jimmie Johnson in points?
“I’m certainly not right behind Jimmie (Johnson), but I guess I’m the closest person to him. We’ve done a great job at being consistent and that’s what I like to focus on and then especially working into the Chase, I think these summer months have always sort of been difficult for me in my past and what I’ve seen out of my team in these summer months I really like a lot and it excites me about our chances for the Chase. Does it bother me that my teammates won? Absolutely not. I was super happy and proud of both of them. Both of them were great stories for not only MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) and themselves, but the sport. I’m a fan of the sport, I love this sport and you have (Martin) Truex, he was in my rookie class and seeing him get his win that everybody knew was a long time coming was special for everybody. Brian Vickers, the man about lost his life and battled back and got another opportunity and made the most of it and got back in victory lane. Just two great stories and happy to be a part of it and hopefully we will get another one sometime soon.”
Would you like to see a Sprint Cup race on dirt?
“Why not? You know what I mean? Again, if the fans liked it and it was well received and people enjoyed it then why not. This is a fan driven sport and it always has been and we’ve always been able to deliver to the fans greater than most other sports and continue that. That’s my opinion on it. It’s all about the fans. These tracks didn’t build as big as they are not having that fan base and not being able to deliver to fans. Whatever it takes. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re happy so I’ve got a place to make a living and have a lot of fun doing it.”
What would it be like to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway at night under the lights?
“Boy, you’re going to need nuclear power to light this place. You’re going to have to shut down downtown to have enough power to light this track — it’s huge. But, I don’t know. I don’t know that that matters. I remember — just look back at all the races that have be run on this place. That’s what’s important about this track in my opinion is the tradition of coming back here. I think that’s why the fans have come here for years and years and years. It’s always been a day race. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be. Grip level would be really well in a night race. I think, at least in a day race on Sunday you slip and slide around quite a bit here and create some exciting racing. So, I’m happy with a day race here.”
Do you ever see yourself racing at the age of 71?
“If I make it to 71 — I’m going to be pumped! I got to get there first — let alone start a race. I doubt I’ll be able to do that. It was pretty cool, you know what I mean. What an accomplishment. I would definitely say that’s going to be the oldest guy to ever start a race in the history of NASCAR. It’s going to be an accomplishment getting there for me.”
Is there anything that can move your team from being consistently strong to winning races?
“You can win the championship being consistently strong. We’re second in points being consistently strong. I feel like — with an exception of one — we’ve covered our bases. We’ve done a good job of being there each and every week. Stubbed our toe the last race in New Hampshire. Just went the wrong way. We were fast all weekend long. Kind of had a little bit of a difference in the weather conditions and made a decision and stuck with it and we went the wrong way. Brian (Vickers) kind of went another route and ended up winning the race for him. That happens in racing. It’s a humbling sport. Out of three races before that were all solid top-fives. That’s what I feel like where our team’s at right now. We’re a top-five team week in and week out. And if you do that, I know if you’re going to get your wins. I’m really not concerned about that. Being consistent, staying in the hunt each and every weekend is what’s going to give you a shot at a championship.”
Do you think the race at Eldora Speedway is overshadowing the Brickyard 400?
“I don’t know. I think it’s a change. We don’t change a whole lot in this sport and look at the excitement and attention that that one change made, and it was the Truck Series. I guess I just put a period after that. Let you write the rest.”