TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Clint Bowyer — Notes & Quotes
Kansas Speedway – April 19, 2013
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
Do you enjoy racing at Kansas?
“It’s been a good week for me personally. It’s been a tough for week for our country. It’s good to be back here in Kansas. Wish the weather was a little bit better. Seemed like I went from Texas to Oklahoma to Kansas and it just kept getting worse the farther north I went as the week progressed. But, that’s what we love about Kansas — she can give you a good day and turn around and give you a bad one and halfway through the day it can turn out good again. You just never know about Kansas, but it feels good to be home. Looking forward to seeing how fast these cars are on this repaved race track. They’ve been setting track record speeds everywhere we’ve been. I think it’s going to get our attention this morning, especially with this cool weather.”
Did you sell any cars at the Clint Bowyer Autoplex?
“I sold several, but personally I sold one. I’m one and done. I’ve sold my one vehicle and they informed me I didn’t do a very good job if we wanted to stay in business, so I’m going to leave that up to the professionals that know how to sell cars. It was fun. I told the guy, I said, ‘We’re going to have to get through this together,’ but had a lot of fun. It meant a lot to me to be able to lean on peers. My teammate, Mark Martin, showed up. It’s just incredible when you’re sitting here and your childhood heroes — DW (Darrell Waltrip) sitting there next to you in your hometown and Mark Martin is sitting next to you and Michael Waltrip. It just meant a lot to me to have those guys there to help and support me. A good day yesterday and looking forward to a good week here at home.”
Was the buyer intimidated by purchasing from Clint Bowyer?
“No. No. No, I’ve known him for years. He’s actually — it was old ‘murph, Dennis Murphy. He helped me throughout my whole racing career, so it was interesting. It was funny.”
Would Michael Waltrip Racing ever alert NASCAR if they noticed another team cheating?
“I don’t know. Who cares how you get caught? If you’re cheating, if you’re doing wrong, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing — it’s wrong. You’re going to get caught. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing in life or whether you’re in a sporting event or everyday life, if you cheat you’re eventually going to get caught and we’re seeing a lot of that this week.”
Do you commiserate at all with Penske Racing on the penalties?
“No. Mine was off like 60-thousandths of an inch and it was a frame rail. I don’t see how that was blatant and would change a significant amount of anything as would a moving rear end. It’s pretty helpful when those things are skewed out we’ve learned and if we could possibly get those skewed out any farther than life is pretty happy — happy, happy.”
Can drivers get too involved in car setup?
“You’re as involved as you need to be. I think you can be — I know I can be involved too much to the depth where I am worrying about things that I shouldn’t be worried about, I’m opinionated about things that I shouldn’t have an opinion on and there’s guys extremely intelligent that work day in and day out on those specific things. I focus on driving a car and holding a steering wheel and hitting my marks. For me, I don’t need to be focused on what setup is under the car and why. I need to know that it’s fast when it unloads and when it is I stay out of there way. Obviously, if there is something in there that’s pushing the envelope, my crew chief, Brian Pattie, people within the organization — you know if you’ve got things that are close, but I’ve never had things knowingly that was out of bounds that you knew about for a great period of time.”
What do you think of your chances in Kansas?
“Love it. They’re good. They better be good. I wouldn’t be here if they weren’t decent. Just looking forward to getting things back on their way. On a serious note, I was off last weekend. We were off as a race team. (Martin) Truex was fast and Mark (Martin) and I struggled pretty bad all weekend long for three days. Kind of concerns you going into a track that’s been somewhat good to you, but more importantly it’s home and it’s important to you to run well. Had a great meeting on Monday, saw some things that were making sense as to reasons why we’re off and I think we’ve got a good game plan going into this race. Just so much fun to come back here. I’m very proud of this race track. I’m proud of this area. I say this every year — I saw what this area was before and what’s become of Wyandotte County (Kansas) because of this race track is just incredible. This is a destination now and it was back in the day a place you didn’t want to be — you got off on the wrong exit. It’s a neat facility. It’s a destination and an attraction here that has brought a lot of neat things — businesses, restaurants, shopping malls, other sporting complexes, a casino. I mean, it’s all within walking distance of the race track. It’s pretty cool.”
Could the cold weather lead to engine issues?
“It’s just ‘preemo,’ you know? Air, all your — you’re getting all of it when the weather conditions are like this. Those engines are running extremely efficient and pushing the envelope even that much more. Yes, these conditions — not to mention the speeds. Now your grip levels are higher. You’re going to go faster and we’re pushing those things to even higher extremes, so it’s just all together the whole package of those cooler temperatures is hard on those engines and you’re asking a lot out of them. It’s part of these bigger race tracks. Our TRD (Toyota Racing Development) program has been strong, won a lot of races here and hopefully we can win another one with our car.”
Is it a distraction racing at your home track?
“It is, but it’s healthy. It’s fun to have a following that way you do — the way I have here with my hometown. Literally half my hometown comes up here to watch the race. The Kansas City area — there are a lot of family and friends and it’s just important. It’s just the one twice a year that I get to see those people and spend some time with them. It is a lot of work, but it’s important to you. It’s my opportunity to see all those guys and you just don’t have those every week. It’s a good weekend and it’s a fun weekend, but you’re worn out by the time it’s done.”
What are your thoughts on the news happenings from Boston this week?
“It’s touched everybody all week long. It’s a tragedy and it’s a shame that these things keep happening. It’s very, very sad. Everybody has been thinking about it. I’m proud that Michael (Waltrip, team owner) came up with the idea to put the Boston Marathon pennants or whatever you call them on our cars for our numbers. I thought that was a great way to say we were thinking about them and we’re along with them. Everyone has been following this and it affects everybody. Now to hear about the Hendrick organization, the Hendrick family — it’s sad. It’s been a tough week for all of us following this mess and then all the families affected down there in Texas — that was another crazy incident that’s happened down there and it’s just been a sad week.”
Is it difficult to try to keep up with the news while focusing on racing?
“It’s difficult. The Twitter world has really brought a lot of positive things to us and society and everything else. I’ve seen some bad things that it’s brought this week and we have to continue to learn from those things, but for me personally, I’ve had a lot going on this week and I’ve been able to keep in touch with what’s going in and keep up to date with what’s going on because of Twitter and I’m glad that we have that today. We’ve got to use it appropriately and we’ve made some mistakes this week as well. All in all, I’m glad that I have that because of that — staying focused and staying up to date with what’s going on. Our media does a great job of covering this sport and for the most part, the media has done a great job of covering what’s going on this week.”
What type of tire wear do you expect at Kansas?
“I think we’re on to something there with this tire wear and seeing the fall-off and seeing good racing. It’s always a learning situation when you have new cars and you have repaves and things like that. There’s a lot of road blocks that you can run into while NASCAR is trying to create a great racing environment for our fans, especially on these newer paved tracks. Yes, we want the tires to wear out and we see the significance of that and we see the impact that it’s making to the racing, but you can’t have them blowing out and being dangerous too. It’s just a continuing process of learning and these tires tests that you always hear us do — they’re going to good use and we’re seeing that we’re putting a good product on the race track. Still got room to improve. Because of Twitter, I saw them down in Daytona this week and working on those things. Just continuing to improve, but I’m telling you, we’ve got the cat by the tail and things are going good. The racing is ‘preemo’ and you’re back to smiling in the race car and on these bigger race tracks and laughing about what’s going on. You see people getting agitated with one another — that’s healthy in any kind of sport and it’s because of good side-by-side quality racing on the race track. When you have those kind of races going on within the program — we slip up and get into each other and it causes mayhem so it’s been good. To answer your question, what to expect here — that’s kind of what’s been cool about this year. I don’t know what to expect and I don’t think you can write a story on what to expect yet because it just seems like it’s kind of thrown us for a different scenario almost every week, but it’s been a pretty wild ride.”