NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
GOOD SAM CLUB 500
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 23, 2011
Clint Bowyer Takes No. 33 Chevrolet 100 Years Chevrolet to Talladega Victory Lane to Score 100th Win for Richard Childress Racing;
Team Chevy Captures Top-Three Finishing Positions in the Good Sam Club 500
TALLADEGA, Ala – (October 23, 2011) – With his win of the Good Sam Club 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Clint Bowyer in his No. 33 Chevrolet 100 Years Chevrolet collected the 100th Owner win for Richard Childress in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Childress formed Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 1961 and his first series victory came in 1983 at Riverside (Calif.) International Speedway with Ricky Rudd behind the wheel of the No. 3 Piedmont Airlines Chevrolet. A NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver himself from 1969 – 1981, Childress recorded six top-five and 76 top-10 finishes in 285 starts. He retired as a driver in mid-1981. RCR became synonymous with success and championships with the legendary Dale Earnhardt and the famed black No. 3 Chevrolet.
A Chevy guy since his days of racing Modifieds at Bowman-Gray Stadium back in the 1960’s, Childress has been a key partner with Chevrolet for over 40 years.
“On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, I am extremely pleased to offer our sincere congratulations to Richard and the entire Richard Childress Racing family for reaching the major milestone of 100 race wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “This tremendous accomplishment is the result of years of dedication to excellence. And with Richard’s long standing loyalty to the red bowtie, we are very proud of the fact that all 100 of Richard Childress Racing’s wins have been in Chevrolets. We truly value our time-honored relationship with Richard and everyone at Richard Childress Racing; and look forward to many more Victory Lane celebrations.”
With his Chevy race car carrying the logo in celebration of the Chevrolet Centennial, Bowyer notched his second victory at Talladega and his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) career win.
Jeff Burton, No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, also fielded by RCR, finished second in the 188-lap/500-mile race.
Making it a Team Chevy one-two-three finish was Dave Blaney behind the wheel of the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet.
The top-finishing Team Chevy driver in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in the sixth race of the 10-race championship battle was Tony Stewart. The two-time NSCS champion finished seventh in the No. 14 El Monterey/Office Depot Chevrolet and moved up to fourth in the standings, 19 points behind the leader.
For the remaining five Team Chevy drivers vying for the 2011 NSCS driver’s championship, it was a day of disappointments in the race considered to be the wild card in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet, was involved in a multi-car accident on the 104th lap of today’s race. The crew worked feverishly on the car to get Harvick back on track to collect valuable championship points. He finished 32nd, nine laps down to the winner and now sits fifth in points, 26 points out of the lead with four races remaining in the season.
Five-time, defending NSCS champion Jimmie Johnson who worked the entire race with his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. brought his No. 48 MyLowe’s Chevrolet to the checkered flag in 26th place and now sits seventh in the standings, 50 points out of the top spot.
Earnhardt, Jr., remains ninth in points, 74 points out of the lead, after bringing his No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Paint the 88/National Guard Chevrolet, to the finish in 25th place.
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, finished 27th as the result of a a late-race restart on lap 187 that jumbled the running order. He is 10th in points, 82 points down to the leader.
Ryan Newman was involved in a two-car accident on the 80th lap. After time in the garage for repairs, Newman returned to action in the No. 39 US Army Chevrolet and was scored in the 38th finishing position. He is 12th in points, 88 points behind the leader.
Brad Keselowski (Dodge) and Brian Vickers (Toyota) completed the top-five finishers. Carl Edwards (Ford) continues as the series points leader.
The Series moves to short track action at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2011.
CLINT BOWYER, NO. 33 CHEVROLET 100 YEARS CHEVROLET – RACE WINNER
SHANE WILSON, CREW CHIEF; AND RICHARD CHILDRESS, TEAM OWNER, RICHARD CHILDRESS RACING PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT:
KERRY THARP: Let’s roll into our race winner’s press conference for today’s race. Our race winner is Clint Bowyer. He’s joined on the podium by his owner Richard Childress. Today was the hundredth career Sprint Cup Series victory for Richard Childress Racing. Congratulations on that monumental win. This is your 12th win at Talladega, all time best in NASCAR series history. He’s joined by crew chief Shane Wilson as well. Clint Bowyer wins for the fifth time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career, the second time here at Talladega.
Clint, take us through that final part of that lap when you made the move, got past Burton, got to the checkered flag.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, the last lap, really to tell you the truth, going down the back straightaway, I wasn’t even looking at him. I already felt bad for him. I knew we had a 12 , 14 car lead. I was looking in the mirror, waiting for the smoke to fly, move ahead of him before the caution came out.
That’s kind of what was on your mind. We had a moment. He told me, Bet you were thinking you were going to pass me on the front straightaway. I was chuckling. That’s exactly what I was thinking. He kind of moved up off of four. I knew it was too early to go, but it was going to be a drag race, give us both a shot at it. I felt like it did.
He worked so well with me all day long. You hate that it comes down to that. It is what it is. You owe it to your team, to your sponsors to go out and win the race. Unfortunately it came down to that situation.
But trust me, I was prepared to push him to the win no matter what the cost was if we would have had people breathing down or necks, too. Just wasn’t meant to be for him. He’s been a great teammate. Learned a lot from him. He’s already won a lot of races. I think he’s won like 20 some races, I’ve only won five.
KERRY THARP: This win today also gets you in next year’s Sprint All Star Race.
CLINT BOWYER: I want to thank Richard for helping me out next year, that’s a big race for us. Thank you, Richard. Thank you, Shane.
It’s just so important to me to be able to cap off such a good relationship with Richard. Everybody at RCR, it’s like family over there. Meant a lot for me to be able to win before we end this deal. The stars were lined up today with having the hundredth anniversary of Chevrolet on the racecar. If I won the race, it was going to be Richard’s hundredth win. Too many things meant to be for it not to be. I’m excited that it was.
KERRY THARP: Crew chief Shane Wilson, talk about the victory here today.
SHANE WILSON: Just means a lot for our team. We worked so hard. Everyone in the garage works hard. We’re a team that we expect to win. We expected to be in the Chase. It’s good to get the win. It’s big for our team. All the guys work so hard. We’ve been so close this year and let it slip away, so it was nice to seal the deal.
KERRY THARP: Richard, congratulations not only on today’s win but also the hundredth win for your racing organization. Talk about the win here today, but also talk about a hundred wins as a team owner.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It was a great win. Once I seen the gap they had, Clint and Jeff, I knew there was going to be a move. They did what they were supposed to. All of us hate it for Jeff. But when you’re in this business, you got to do what you got to do for yourself and the team.
I was really proud of RCR cars all day. These fans pay a lot of money. I hate it for Kevin, but he was doing what he was supposed to be doing. All of our RCR cars race to give these fans a show. We didn’t sit in the back and ride till the last minute. Our cars ran all day long. We don’t get paid to ride in the back. I’m proud of every one of ’em. I’m proud of Clint getting the win. Clint, thanks for getting us on winner’s circle next year.
KERRY THARP: We’ll take questions.
Q. Richard, could you reflect in two ways on a hundred wins. 30 plus years ago when you were an independent driver, you used to talk about plowing your money back in the operation, put somebody in the car, make something out of that team. Can you talk about whether back then in your wildest dreams you expected to win a hundred races? Can you also talk about winning this hundredth one with a guy everybody thought you were going to half bake it on the rest of this season when he’s leaving, yet getting that win with a guy even when he’s leaving?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: It all started here for RCR in 1969. It’s nice to come back where I got my big break, 1969 when they boycotted. I went ahead and ran the race and I got money on Saturday, got money on Sunday, got deal money from Mr. Bill France, Sr., more money than I’d ever seen in my life. We went back, built the shop started racing.
That was a big break for me in Talladega. Today to get our hundredth win with Clint, only in America could a kid with a $20 racecar do what I’ve been able to do, myself and my people working with me. It started with an old $20 racecar and a dream.
Q. Where was the first win?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: Riverside, California, with Ricky Rudd, 1983.
Q. Clint, what was the key in you and Jeff moving away from everybody else so quick those last couple laps?
CLINT BOWYER: We talked right before the race. Right after the drivers meeting we talked. Just had a game plan what we wanted to do, what we were strong at, what we needed to improve on. One of those was the restarts, being able to bunch up and get together, make that connection before the rest of them, get up through the gearbox better than the rest. I think that’s what ultimately won us the race. We were able to do that on virtually every restart.
I was really, really worried. You’re looking in the mirror. I know I’ve got to let him down, then get back together. I knew that the Red Bull cars were already going to be together as soon as the rag dropped. 27 and 14 formed a partnership. I didn’t think never in a million years we’d come off of two with a lead.
As luck would have it, and I’m telling you luck has a lot to do with these races, it always does, right at the split second I touched his bumper, one of the Red Bull cars hit me in the butt. It just launched us out there. The rest was history. I was able to get up through the gearbox, shove him. It got us away. At that split second, they came to a halt and split up and were racing two and three wide. We were able to drive off into the sunset.
Q. Richard, you’ve won a lot of races here, I think 12, with a variety of different guys. Why are you so good as a team here and why are you always one of the cars to beat here?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I don’t know. We just got great people working for us. We plan for this. We work hard for the restrictor plate races. Daytona, we had some good shots to win there, we’ve won there, and racing here. I think it goes back to some of the philosophy that Dale and I planned many years ago. We still use that same philosophy. That’s race as hard as you can, run up front all day.
Q. Clint, when you make that move coming off of four, did you have a little sense of relief knowing that it was Jeff, that he was going to race you hard, but it was going to be clean?
CLINT BOWYER: I was going to make sure it was clean. I wasn’t going to put him in a situation where we were going to wreck. We’ve been through too much. I’m telling you, I have a ton of respect for Jeff Burton. He was still going to have a shot at it. If you waited till the tri oval and snookered him at the end, there wasn’t going to be a shot at it. You would have been able to pull by him, the rest would have been history. Starting the move that early was going to enable him to have a shot. I knew we were far away ahead and nobody was going to be able to catch us and it was going to be a drag race till the end. It pretty much was. Glad it worked out. Probably a pretty risky move on my part.
Like I said, he wasn’t expecting it. I know he was expecting for me to wait for the tri oval because we talked about it. I felt like it was an opportunity to catch him off guard. It did, but it about bit me in the butt, too.
Q. Richard, you don’t like to sit back. How disappointed would you have been if those two had been that far out and decided to ride? How disappointed would you have been in him if he hadn’t tried?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I knew going down the backstretch, once you seen they had the lead they had, that he was going to. Paul was racing with the 14. I told him on the radio, I said, Win the race. You can’t just push somebody, you got to go up there and try to win the race. He did just what I told Paul to do. That’s what you’re in this business for, race hard, put on a show for the fans.
Q. Clint, did you ever think about riding in the back? Did you ever talk about, Maybe we should? Is that not even a thought?
CLINT BOWYER: No. Two things. First and foremost, I think Richard is right. These fans pay a ton of money to watch these races and we owe it to them to put a show on them from rag to rag.
Second thing is it’s great practice. We don’t get a lot of practice. Used to be you’d come to these tracks, you’d have tons of practice, working on the drafting, working on cowling, air cleaners, so many different things to see if your car would pull up to the next car better or worse, headers. Now you got what you got. You come here, run three or four laps in practice. As long as nothing falls off the thing, you’re not just completely slow, you go on to the race.
So I feel like it gives you an advantage being able to race up there, slice and dice all race long, that you’re not caught off guard, go up there and make a mistake. I don’t mean to say anything bad, but when those guys come up there on that one run, I looked in the mirror, I knew they were going to wreck, and they did. It just puts you in a situation that’s unfamiliar territory, and they wreck every time. It happens every single time.
Q. Richard, what were you thinking when Harvick was told he had to go to the garage to fix the smoke? What do you think of his championship chances being 26 points out with four to go?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: I mean, we’re not done. I told him a while ago, Don’t stick a fork us yet. We’re definitely not done. We’re going to race, take no prisoners, do a deal, race as hard as we can.
It’s unfortunate that Kevin got in that crash. He was doing what we all talked about doing, running up front. It just happened he got hung up in it. It may have cost us the championship. We may have been able to ride in the back and wait it out. But that wasn’t what Kevin wanted to do. We had all of our sponsors here today. That just isn’t what we wanted to do.
It may bite us, but I’m proud of him getting the car fixed anyway.
Q. RC, there was a lot made about Ford didn’t want to work with Chevrolets, something with the 21 and the 24. The 27 was working with the 14. Did you tell him to back off because you got the points? Is there something about the points deal that makes Talladega a little more difficult for a car owner to deal with if he has a lot of teams?
RICHARD CHILDRESS: No, actually all the teams know they’re supposed to come here and try to win the race, never wreck each other. They know that.
I went on Paul’s radio and told him go up there and push Tony and try to win the race. I wanted him to win the race but I also wanted him to push Tony. That was just the way it was. He knew what he was going to do. If he came down to the end, he would have tried to make a move like Clint did on Jeff.
Q. Would you have gone with a Ford, too, if you had a chance?
CLINT BOWYER: I know the answer to that. He wouldn’t have opted for that option, no.
RICHARD CHILDRESS: We were going to help Chevy try to win. I’ve been Chevy all my life. We’ve been GM for 40 some years, I think 45 years now. It’s kind of hard to change an old dog.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations to the No. 33 team, Clint Bowyer, Shane Wilson, and Richard Childress Racing.
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JEFF BURTON, NO. 31 CATERPILLAR CHEVROLET – FINISHED 2ND
DAVE BLANEY, NO. 36 GOLDEN CORRAL CHEVROLET – FINISHED 3RD:
KERRY THARP: We welcome Jeff Burton. Jeff, talk about your run out there today. Certainly you were on the verge of getting a victory, but runner up finish here this afternoon.
JEFF BURTON: Well, I don’t know whether to be excited or upset. After the year we’ve had, it’s good to be in position to win a race. Obviously Clint and I worked really well together the whole race. Had some good luck along the way. Whenever you leave here not wrecked, you ought to be happy. At the same time I’m heartbroke we didn’t win the race. It would have been a big deal for us to get a win, would have been a great deal to Caterpillar, all our supporters.
Having said all that, I don’t know what I would have done different. Clint and I finished first and second in one of the Duel races in Daytona. I won that one. It was really close. Then honestly I thought he made his move a little too early. I kind of gave him the bottom because you tend to be able to pull them back better. He made his move really early.
I thought I’d be able to pull back to him. He had a lot of momentum when he made the move. His car was a little quicker throughout the day, that’s why we ended up with him pushing me. When I was pushing him, we weren’t as good together.
Nonetheless, it was a good finish for us. Again, I’d be interested in watching the replay, see what I could have done different. These races, it’s really hard to hold that guy off when he’s coming. We’ve seen that every time. I thought I did what I needed to give myself a shot to win and at the end of the day it didn’t work out.
KERRY THARP: We’ll take questions for Jeff Burton.
Q. Jeff, you and Clint seemed to take the strategy of, Let’s go ahead and run up front as much as we can today, while so many other tandems laid way back. Did you expect to see them sooner or later? Were you surprised not to see some of the Chasers who had been laying back?
JEFF BURTON: I thought they waited too long. That next to last caution came out I thought that saved them. I thought that gave them a chance.
Having said that, that’s all in retrospect. I wasn’t thinking during the race, They’re waiting too long. When that caution came out, Clint and I were where we wanted to be to win the race. I didn’t think any of those guys were going to be a factor. You’re always looking at what’s coming behind you.
At the end of the day, that strategy didn’t work today. I’ve seen it work. It worked here in the spring. I’ve seen it work. I’m much happier when it doesn’t work because I prefer to run in the front. I’m not being critical of anybody. I don’t blame them, especially when it works. We’ve seen races won here by people pulling that strategy. It just didn’t work out today. But I’ve seen it work both ways.
Q. On the last lap, did you pretty much figure when y’all broke away for the last lap that he was going to make a move?
JEFF BURTON: I was going down the back straightaway, talking on the radio: I bet you’re thinking about what you’re going to do right now. I was going to ask him to give an old man a break, but I knew better than that.
But, yeah, I knew he was going to make a move. He was supposed to make a move. He ain’t supposed to push me to the win. He’s supposed to go and try to win. That’s what you get here. If there’s those two cars leading everybody, you’re going to get that move. Like we saw in the Truck race yesterday, a guy with nowhere to go, he’s going to push somebody to win because that gives him the best chance to get a good finish. The way this worked out we have broken off from everybody.
Q. When you appeared to get into him a little bit there, was that a matter of trying to hold position or purely accidental?
JEFF BURTON: I was trying to get my left front fender to his right rear quarter panel to slow him up. We all do that. I got a little closer than I wanted to and knocked him around a little bit.
That wouldn’t have been good if he would have wrecked, would it? I was trying to get as close to him as I could get his momentum slowed down. I got him slowed down, but a little too late.
KERRY THARP: Let’s also hear from the other drivers here on the podium. Our third place finisher Dave Blaney. Dave, you showed you were very strong out there this afternoon.
DAVE BLANEY: It was a great run. Obviously we have to thank Brad Keselowski, stayed with us all day long every lap. When you get somebody committed to you no matter what, it makes it a lot easier. Then it’s just timing at the end. Worked out pretty good. We were in the right place at the right time, squeezed through a couple holes, there you are.
But still a solid day. We had a really solid day going here in the spring, too. Didn’t quite make it to the end. Really fun day for Tommy Baldwin Racing, Golden Corral.
KERRY THARP: We’ll continue with questions.
Q. You said you did everything that you could coming off of turn four. Would you have done anything different if that hadn’t been your teammate? Would you maybe not have been as nice?
JEFF BURTON: Hell, I didn’t think I was nice.
No. I mean, obviously I’d do something different now if I knew it wasn’t going to work. But I did everything I thought I needed to do. It just didn’t work out.
I try really hard to race everybody the same. I don’t know what else I could have done, whether it was a teammate or not. I actually ended up getting into him. So I don’t think there was anything different I could have done.
Q. Jeff, will you reflect on RC’s hundredth win?
JEFF BURTON: Driving for Richard has been a pleasure. I have a lot of respect for Richard. I’ve only had three car owners in my Cup career. All three of them I have a lot of respect for. To be able to be at Richard’s has meant a lot to me.
When I came in, it was a struggle. They were struggling. It’s been built back up to be able to contend for championships. We haven’t won any, but we’ve been contending for them.
He’s a good man. I like him. I’m comfortable with him. You can say anything about him as far as a competitor. He is a supreme competitor. The main thing is he’s a good person. He’s got a good heart. He’s honest. He represents our sport. He doesn’t always do the right thing. None of us always do the right thing. But he generally has a care and a passion for the sport. It’s an honor to drive for him.
Q. It may be a case of a lesser of two evils, but what in y’all’s minds is the ideal package? The one you have now, the one in the past? What would make the racing better?
JEFF BURTON: I don’t think anybody wants to answer that.
I personally think that there is an advantage to the tandem thing. There’s some disadvantages to it. The one thing it does do is it does separate the field a little bit. That’s not all bad. I’ve come here for a long time. Every time I come here, I’m pretty sure I’m going to get in a wreck. That’s a little odd way to race.
To me the tandem thing creates wrecks. But overall I think there’s less cars wrecked because of the tandem thing versus not having it. So I think overall it’s better. It does spread the pack out a little bit. But it doesn’t do it in a way that’s boring. The other way to spread the pack out is to make the cars drive bad and the fans aren’t going to like that.
To me this accomplishes a little bit of spreading the pack out without making the racing boring. Because of that I think they ought to keep it the way it is and not hamper our ability to tandem draft because it doesn’t hurt the quality of racing.
I was fortunate to run in the front all day. There was a lot going on in the front. I don’t know why, if you watched that race, how any part of that race was boring. That’s just my opinion.
Q. Jeff, been a tough year, really tough year.
JEFF BURTON: For you or me (laughter)?
Q. When you’re leading coming to the checkered like that, you got a guy behind you that’s your teammate, are you happy to be sitting in here with a good finish, not stuffed in a wall? Are you livid that you lost? Is it any worse because of who beat you and how?
JEFF BURTON: Well, I’m pissed off and I’m happy all at the same time if there is such a thing. Anytime you come here and you can get a top 10, have a car that’s not torn up, you have to at least be somewhat happy with that.
However, to come that close and to lose it is disheartening. It’s always worse to lose ’em close. But it’s a lot better being in a position. To be perfectly frank about it, since the first race at Phoenix, we haven’t been in position to win a race. We haven’t sniffed it. That is awful. It’s terrible to come to the racetrack week in, week out. You come optimistic, you leave dejected.
At least today the dejection is about having a good finish and not finishing it off. Of course, I’m going to go home and watch the video a thousand times and wonder what I could have done different. But I’m heartbroken, but at the same time I’m happy if there is such a thing.
Q. Dave, could you talk a little bit about what that means for Tommy Baldwin Racing, what it means for you going forward with this finish?
DAVE BLANEY: Well, it’s huge for a race team. It’s a tiny little team. This racecar we’ve got, it was a Bill Davis car 2007, 2008. It’s not a killer. It’s a big, big accomplishment for us to come out.
This is a track you can do this. You can’t hang in all day. With Brad Keselowski’s help we could hang in all day and took advantage of getting a big push at the right time. That’s what it comes down to here, having a car that will roll the last couple laps to do that. It all just worked out.
Q. Dave, with this tandem racing, it does get strung out a little bit. Were you surprised that Clint and Jeff were able to scoot away as big as they did in that one lap? How did that happen? You were the closest one that could have possibly seen them.
DAVE BLANEY: I don’t really know how it happened. I believe I started 14th and Brad was 15th on that green white checkered. I didn’t see how the top five, what happened to them in the first corner. I have no idea. But that was odd to see them get that far away that quick. That is obviously what made it a different kind of race. Like Jeff said, exciting racing, whether it’s tandem or packs, stressful on the drivers, exciting for the fans.
Q. Dave, do you feel any better after the April race here? You also were in a position for a nice day and didn’t get it in the end through no fault of your own.
DAVE BLANEY: I was happy how we ran that day. Didn’t work out, didn’t get the finish. Performed well. Hung in there all day. Same thing today. Yeah, you feel great when you get the finish out of it.
But, again, just really happy for Golden Corral. I think the spring race here might have been the first or second race, they just started up with us. Stayed with us all year. Lets us race more than we could without them. Just legitimizes Tommy Baldwin’s team more and more, see where we can go.
KERRY THARP: Dave, Jeff, congratulations on an outstanding performance here this afternoon.
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