TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Daytona Testing- Clint Bowyer — Notes & Quotes

By Official Release On Thu, Jan. 10, 2013

Daytona_International_Speedway_logoTOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) Daytona Testing- Clint Bowyer — Notes & Quotes Daytona International Speedway – January 10, 2012

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

How was the first test session this morning? “Everybody is super excited about this race car and what it brings to our sport and the identity that it brings back to the passenger cars you see on the roads. This is my first time I’ve been in it. I didn’t do the Charlotte test so it was fun to get out there and see what it was all about. They’re certainly cool looking to see everybody’s cars down here and be back to racing. It’s been a great off-season. I enjoyed a lot of good times with a lot of family and friends. It’s kind of good to get back here and get in a groove and be back around the guys. Certainly had a great year last year and just got to keep going. Just got to keep building on what we had last year. I feel like from the time we unloaded our car was right back up on top of the board and I was like, ‘Well, so far so good. Guess we’ll see if we can screw it up.’ But, we haven’t been able to so it’s been pretty good so far. I’m ready to go home.”

Can you feel a difference in the new superspeedway car compared to last year? “Not necessarily on a track like this — especially single-car runs. Out there by yourself you’re still the same chassis and same components underneath of it. Feel-wise all by yourself, you’re not going to be able to tell nothing. It’s when you get the other cars out there, you get to feel the way they draft, the way the air moves around them, how you move down and get gains off of side drafting and things like that. Those are the things that are going to start showing up later on. Right now, it’s just trying to make it as fast as possible and as far as the feel goes, right now, with single-car it’s virtually the same.”

Did you run into Jeff Gordon on New Year’s Eve? “This is 2013 Bob. I was on the damndest boat you’ve ever seen in your life. I’m from Kansas. We don’t have big boats in Kansas. We don’t have very big bodies of water so I think he (Jeff Gordon) was on that same boat, but there was a lot of other people on there and it was a big time being had. Yes, he (Jeff Gordon) was on there and I think it was on the same island. I’m pretty sure he was on there. It was pretty late. Put it that way.”

What is the adjustment like going from a Grand-Am car last weekend back to NASCAR this week? “I got talked into the Rolex deal. What a deal. I went down there and tested and I was struggling to find where I needed to be on the race track. There was cars that were way faster than me and that’s something that was new for me. It was a lot of fun to be able to race with both bosses — Rob Kaufmann (team co-owner) and Michael Waltrip (team co-owner) were my teammates. It’s just kind of an enjoyable weekend to be able to test down there. Looking forward to the race and hanging out with the guys for a long time. Twenty-four hours is a long time to stay focused. There’s going to be plenty of product in the 24-hour race that I will be using. It’s been fun down here so far.”

How can your team improve this year and how confident are you going into 2013? “We’ve just got to continue to improve and that was the one thing that I felt like Brian Pattie (crew chief) and everybody on the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota did all season long was continue to improve right up to the point where we were out of time unfortunately to come up short. But, nonetheless, I felt like those Chase races we picked our program up in a big way and elevated our game — me in the race car, us working together, our chemistry and Brian calling races. Just everything was really coming together and working well. I see that same thing starting out the year. Obviously, you’ve got to start out on the right foot. You’ve got to start out with getting that confidence and momentum going early in the season that is very important. All the while, you’re down here trying to win the biggest race of the year. This one is always tricky for me. You’re full of emotions. You don’t know what to chase. You don’t know what goals to Chase down here at Daytona. This is the one opportunity a year you have at the Daytona 500, but also you’ve got to get the year started out right and take care of business point-wise and things like that. It’s crazy you think about that at Daytona, but you do. If you get yourself in a hole and crash out 20 laps into this race, it will take you a month to overcome that.”

Have you spoke to Jeff Gordon since last season? “Who cares? Really, who cares? Apparently you guys do way more than we do. I can promise you that. I missed that dear that I was talking about in Texas though, if that makes you feel any better. That was more important on my off-season list than figuring out where I was going to vacation and who I was going to vacation with. My neighbor shot it, it sucked. Yes. He was really happy — I was not.”

Have you noticed a difference with the weight change in the new car? “It certainly wasn’t on my part. I had a big off-season. There were a lot of cookies on the counter. Do you know what I mean? No. I didn’t even know that so may be better to go back and tune in. No — the reason I ask is they added a couple bars inside the car and I was thinking that you would’ve said the other way. Probably the body being lighter I would say. Carbon fiber hood and deck lid would be a big part of that. That’s pretty cool.” – more –

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing (continued) What do you look for at a test like this? “Personally, just coming down here and enjoying a test with the guys — you haven’t seen a lot of them — catching up with them. Christmas parties and things like that is about all I got a chance to see the guys. To be back down here and getting in the swing of things and making sure everybody is set for the season that’s really — me personally — what I’m down here doing. Holding the wheel, sitting in line and stuff like that isn’t much fun. But, when we get down to drafting and things like that we’ll see what we have. We’ve all been doing this a long time pretty well and it’s going to be interesting to see what happens, how the cars move around, how they draft. Like I said, those are the things you’re looking at is am I going to be able to push at all? What’s going to happen if I touch the car in front of me? Am I going to spin him out? The thing looks a little more like a spear than it used to so I don’t know. We’re fixing to find those things out in the next couple of days.”

What do you expect to find out when you draft with the new cars? “Well, I know that they’ve done a lot of work to prevent us from doing that very thing so who knows. Are we going to be able to even bump draft? Like I said, that’s why we’re down here. Everybody has different agendas. There’s new teams down here, new driver lineups and a lot of things that are different, but probably as a sport we’re down here to try to figure out what this car is going to do for the Daytona 500 and make it as successful as we can.”

Do you care that you are not in the Sprint Unlimited race? “Well, I didn’t sit on a pole so I didn’t deserve it. Certainly had a good year, but nonetheless it’s off of poles. I didn’t like how they changed the rules before, but certainly I’ll probably be watching from the back of my dirt hauler in Tampa. I’m going to go down there and watch my guys and there is a TV in the back of the hauler so I will probably be watching it from there.”

Official Release (16587 Posts)


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