Ford Performance NASCAR: Daytona 500 Media Day (Clint Bowyer)

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Ford Mustang — TALK ABOUT TOMORROW: “What is tomorrow? The twins? Well, I think tomorrow is qualifying races for the Daytona 500. I am looking forward to getting that car to the Daytona 500. That is the trickiest thing about the 150’s is that it is a race. We are race car drivers and anyone that competes wants to win. That is an opportunity to win a race and all the while there is a lot at stake and a lot on the line if you get your car wiped out. You are going to end up having to take your second best car to the big dance to try to win the Daytona 500. It is important but it isn’t the end of the world either.”

LOOKING BACK TO JIMMIE’S PASS OF PAUL ON SUNDAY? WHAT IS YOUR VERDICT ON THAT? “Man, I hit the 21 car. I don’t know. I don’t even know how he got turned around. All I know is that I went to Disney World with 20 people. My God. That wreck was nothing compared to the hell I have been through the last two days.”

WHO WOULD BE YOUR NEXT PICK OUT OF GUYS THAT MAYBE HAVEN’T WON YET THAT HAVE A CHANCE TO BE REALLY GOOD? “They have all won pretty much. Who hasn’t won yet? William Byron? Nah (laughing). I am just teasing. I think in our sport and in any sport, it is no different than – I am a Chiefs fan. Look at Patrick Mahomes. He comes in and sets the world on fire. It is his rookie year. But if you take Tyreek Hill out and Travis Kelce and some of those guys that caught those balls for those amazing throws that he threw all year, you don’t have the results that they had. I use that as a fan, but that is true. You have to look at the opportunity that is in front of them, the team they are with. William Byron is under the Hendrick camp with a seven-time champion and everything else. Alex Bowman too. I can tell you this. If they don’t win pretty soon, they better be looking over their shoulder.”

IS THERE STRATEGY FOR SUNDAY OR IS IT AS BIG A CRAP-SHOOT AS EVERYONE SAYS IT IS? “I drove back from Disney World this morning thinking about that. Yes, there is strategy you can do. You can lag back and wait for the big one but then about the time that it doesn’t happen you have to start figuring out how to get to the front and that is when it usually does happen. You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It is hard to figure out the inevitable and that is the big wreck. That is what draws a crowd and makes this race exciting but it is also what makes it extremely hard to win. Somebody has to be looking out for you and the stars have to line up for you to win this race. Part of those stars lining up is good equipment, good decisions, good chemistry with you and your spotter. The ones that do that the most usually have the most opportunities to win the race. Also you put yourself in harms way more than others too. It has to be your day. It really does. Hopefully it will be our day.”

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WHAT ARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON THE OLD RULES PACKAGE AND MAYBE WHAT YOU THINK THE NEW WILL BE LIKE? “I think the old racing was good. I think it is such a hard target to hit on a thought of a good race. A good race isn’t just this good passing and different leaders and different things like that. What I think is a good race is going to be different than what you think is a good race. Collectively, we are making some strides. I think all of us look at 1.5 mile tracks and if you had to pair them together as a whole and try to put them together in an average, it wasn’t the best. You would have mixed reviews and probably they wouldn’t average out to being satisfactory. You have to go to work on those. Certainly this new package is going to be drastically different than what we have seen on those racetracks.”

WHAT IS A GOOD RACE TO YOU? “Moments. No different than when I go to a football game. The Super Bowl sucked and I am a football fan. Again, you go watch the Chiefs games, I was lucky enough to be a Chiefs fan this year and it was a highlight reel one after another with Mahomes and Hill. it was literally a highlight reel, four or five a game. I don’t know, there wasn’t a highlight the whole Super Bowl in my opinion. It was a snoozer. Was it an extremely challenging game in other eyes, yes. I guarantee you there are football gods out there saying it was the best game in the history of football. To me, there weren’t enough moments. You have to have good passing, side by side, changes for the lead, cautions – I don’t want a caution because that means somebody has wrecked or had a problem but there are so many things that go into adding up to those moments. Us drivers, you have to be in a situation that you can make the most of. Again, without a caution at the end of some of these restrictor plate tracks we may not have those moments. Sometimes all it takes is a caution to make that moment that someone takes to the office the next moment to say, ‘My gosh, you should have been there and seen that.’ We have to have more of those, no question.”

DOES IT FRUSTRATE YOU AS A DRIVER THAT SOMETIMES YOU FEEL YOU WERE IN A GREAT RACE AND THE FANS DON’T THINK SO? “Nah. Hey, at the end of the day we are answering their call. There is no question we are working for them. You are in the entertainment business and if we don’t think we are we are mistaken and will be behind. We are in the entertainment business and we need to go out there and put on a good show. We are making adjustments to try to provide that. As a racer I am not a big fan of those things but as the value and being able to bring those moments as I am talking about to the forefront for a fan, I know that is the right direction.”

WHAT DID YOU GETTING THOSE WINS LAST YEAR DO FOR YOUR EXPECTATIONS THIS YEAR? “Huge year for everyone at Stewart-Haas Racing. It was a ton of fun. Week in and week out we were competing for laps led or for wins or for stage wins. It was a lot of fun. Collectively, across the board, all four cars, it was a ton of fun. You move to a new format with the rules to a new body with the Mustang and different expectations and a little bit of, ‘Oh no, we had a pretty good thing going last year.’ But we had enough time to work and perfect some of the things that we knew going in. Comparing a Mustang of all things to a Fusion and trying to figure out the pros and cons of that. Then also, hey man, they changed the rules. They changed the ole’ rule box now and then and you have to adjust for that and have that built into that body of the Mustang to keep up with those changes to because, who knows, they might do it again next year too.”

IS THERE A BETTER DRIVER OUT THERE THAN YOU? “Hell no. No way. You have to have that mentality though. We all think we are the best driver and have the best team and best equipment. I always think that until I look at that stat book every now and then and I just get bummed out. I go back to my own bubble.”

RUMORS OF NASCAR RETURNING TO NASHVILLE. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS? “There is a great deal of excitement surrounding the talk about possibly returning to Nashville. I love Nashville. Everybody loves Nashville. I think there are so many parallels between country music and NASCAR. Hell, how many country songs have had something about NASCAR in that song. I think it would be a huge fit to be able to go back there. I remember the days of the sound and speed events there and they were so much fun. We were able to celebrate our sport and country music. I am friends and fans of a lot of country music stars and I know it would be a huge opportunity for a win-win for both our fan bases.”

YOU ON BROADWAY DURING THAT RACE WEEKEND IS SOMETHING ALL THE OTHER DRIVERS ARE HAVING FUN TALKING ABOUT. “Maybe we could start on Wednesday. Do our Sound and Speed on Broadway on Wednesday and then get back after it. Or maybe we could just win and then have that event on Sunday night or something.”

IS THERE A MOVE YOU’VE MADE IN THE DAYTONA 500 THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO HAVE BACK? “I can’t remember the Clash let alone last years 500. Well, there was that one time when I flipped that I wish I wouldn’t have went through that. I thought Moses parted the sea but it was a little creek and I shouldn’t have been in it.”

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