MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
GANDER OUTDOORS 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 29, 2018
CAMARO ZL1 DRIVER ALEX BOWMAN EARNS BEST CAREER FINISH AT POCONO
- Alex Bowman led the way for Team Chevy at Pocono Raceway in the Gander Outdoors 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, the 21st event of the 2018 Cup Series season earning a third-place finish.
- The third-place effort was a career best finish for the driver of the No. 88 Camaro ZL1, and the run is his second top five finish and eighth top 10 finish of 2018.
- The run marked Bowman’s first top 10 finish in six races at Pocono
- William Byron, No. 24 Axalta/Imron Camaro ZL1 finished sixth and was the highest finishing rookie in the 164-lap event
POST RACE PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT:
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA ALL PRO TEACHERS CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 3rd
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our third‑place finisher, Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 88 AXALTA All Pro Teachers Chevrolet. This is Alex’s first top‑10 finish in six races here at Pocono Raceway.
Q. Alex, this race seemed like a real bright spot for the whole organization today. I don’t know if y’all finished that way, but all four cars were in the top 10 at some point. You ended up with a third‑place finish here and driving the Eagles car. What does a run like this mean for you at this point of the season when you’re so close to the playoffs here?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, obviously it was a great points day for us, but on top of that, it’s proof that we’re improving each and every week and continually getting better. Obviously, we’re not doing it as quickly as we want to, but days like today make all the hard work for the guys back at the shop, the engine shop, the chassis shop, body shop, the whole road crew, days like today make it worth it. Very glad, especially considering how bad we were when we started the weekend and how bad we qualified. To come out of here with a solid top 5 is a great day. Obviously wish it would have been a little better, but I think we kind of had Pocono circled as a place that we thought we had pretty good race cars, and the 9 was really good, especially last race. We knew we were going to be pretty strong here.
We were kind of shocked we were as bad as we were on Saturday. But I think it was a great day for us, and it’s proof that we’re getting better.
Q. Can you just kind of take us through that last restart because I think when it got three-wide, that enabled you to pick up the move into third place.
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, I felt like I had a pretty poor final restart. My spotter said to wait for the 18 to put a hand out the window and go, and I was planning on pushing him. I guess he didn’t want to be pushed initially. He didn’t want to spin the tires, he wanted to be pushed later, so it left a little gap. And then he just went at the very first part of the box. Snookered me a little bit there. I don’t know if it helped him or not. I mean, obviously he still won, but I felt like we both would have been better off if I could have pushed him.
But it wasn’t a bad restart because once they got like tied up on the bottom there into the tunnel, I just drove around them on the outside and was able to clear them. I felt like I was able to be pretty aggressive going to the outside through the tunnel turn and kind of put people in a box that they had to lift, and that’s what it took to gain spots on restarts.
It’s a tricky corner and restarting on the outside was pretty advantageous, so it all worked out, and I about gave it all away in Turn 3 on the last lap, but glad we held on to it.
Q. I don’t know if you got a chance to see Bubba Wallace’s crash in Turn 1, but it was a brake failure there, obviously fastest part of the track. Do moments like that, knowing that even your teammates have had brake failures here in the recent past, do moments like that ever cause concern for you just regarding your safety as a driver in the sport?
ALEX BOWMAN: That’s part of being a race car driver. What we do is not safe. Obviously, NASCAR has done everything they can to continually make the sport safer, and they’ve done a great job with the cars and all the technology getting safer, but it’s never going to be safe. I had a brake rotor explode, a brake failure at Kentucky two weeks ago, so obviously my hit was probably quite a bit less and probably running a little bit slower there, but yeah, I mean, every time you go into Turn 1, it definitely if something breaks, it’s going to hurt. I hate that for him. It looked like it hurt. I saw Jimmie do it a couple years ago here. That’s tough.
I had something hanging down on top of my feet, and I was worried there for quite a while that it was going to stick the throttle because it was right on top of my right foot. Glad that didn’t happen, but that’s just part of being a race car driver. You can’t let stuff like that bother you. If it happens, it happens, and move on from it.
Q. You must feel pretty amped up right now; it’s your best ever finish in your career. How are you feeling?
ALEX BOWMAN: I’m ready to get some food, maybe take a nap, go home, see my dogs tonight. They don’t really care where I finish.
No, I mean, it’s a great day. For me it’s more about my guys and the guys back at the shop. They work so hard, and there’s no ‑‑ like everybody works as hard as they possibly can, and that’s 1010 solid time. Every team is like that.
But when you start the year off like we have, we have asked a lot of people to step up and work that much harder every week, and good runs like this kind of make it worth it for them. So obviously a win would be much better, but to have all four of us have pretty solid days, it hopefully shows them that all their hard work is worth it because we’ve come a long way from where we started.
Q. Going on that topic, does this inspire some more confidence going forward, not only for the team but individually for you with this top 5?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, absolutely. It’s easy to get down on yourself in this sport, and it’s been a rough two weeks. Glad we had a good solid day today. I think the team will be pretty confident.
Like I said, it proves to us and everybody else that we are getting better, so we know places that we’re going to for the second time we’re headed in the right direction.
Q. I don’t know how much you, quote‑unquote, scoreboard watch or points watch, but obviously this was a good points day for you with being the cutoff. Can you talk about that, putting a little more distance between you and Ricky and Paul right behind you there in the standings?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, it’s all so easy to erase that when you have a weekend like we had at Kentucky. It was great to have a good points day, but not trying to watch it too much, just trying to do the best job I can and that we can each and every week. If we maximize each and every week, hopefully they won’t catch us in points, and we’ll go from there.
Q. Did you just have more speed today? Was it better handling? Do you have an idea of why you were better?
ALEX BOWMAN: You know, we weren’t horrible throughout the weekend. Like the car didn’t drive bad. It was just slow. Greg made the car better all race long. It really drove about how it drove all weekend. It really didn’t drive that much differently. We just got little bits better and were really able to maximize track position with our pit crew and our restarts.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
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