TOYOTA NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS)
Clint Bowyer — Notes & Quotes
Talladega Superspeedway – May 3, 2013
CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 PEAK Motor Oil Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
What makes you strong on restrictor plate tracks?
“Talladega — it’s been good to us, but I know you have to respect these race tracks and you’ve got to get to the end of them. Obviously, you’ve got to have a little bit of luck not to get caught up in things and more importantly be careful not to cause them yourself. But, got new colors — Peak being on board this week is big for us. Super excited about it and happy to be here. It felt good to be out there in practice and I tell you everybody was — with the weather coming tomorrow, everybody is worried about qualifying being rained out. It was kind of a go time in that first little bit of practice there, so it was pretty exciting.”
How will the race play out?
“Only time’s going to tell. You’ve got to get to the end of these races and if you get caught up in a wreck not at the end through anytime through the race other than the last 50 laps it’s your fault. Doesn’t matter what caused it or how you got involved with it. If you get wrecked before the end of the race, there’s nobody to blame but yourself because you put yourself in that situation. That being said, you’re always going to be a little cautious and play defense until the end. But,
also with this track being wider than Daytona, the end of the race is going to be exciting. You get a little bit excited and antsy to get up into the pack and even 50, 60 laps to go because you’re like, ‘How am I going to get up there?’ They get three-wide and there’s just literally no place to go. Here, you can go four- and I’ve seen — when it goes five-wide you get in a wreck — but we see that quite a bit here, somebody attempting it and that’s when it gets this place exciting. Looking forward to hopefully getting to the end and, more importantly, hopefully getting a win.”
Are you surprised Denny Hamlin is racing this weekend?
“This is how we making a living. You’ve got to put food on the table and we’re all in the same boat. We’re all given a wonderful opportunity to get paid doing what we love to do, so that being said anytime a racer is okay to get back in the car, he’s going to do it whether he’s sore or whatever the case is. You just – you’re going to do it. This is what we love to do and we’d do it even if it didn’t pay anything, truth be told. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s part of it coming to these race tracks, these restrictor plate tracks. Yes, the level of intensity on the racetrack is a lot more than some other race tracks, especially those last 15 to 20 laps. You’re odds of getting in a crash and probably a big hit is pretty great right there at the last few laps if you can get that far.”
Do you have to judge where the finish line is at Talladega to make a last lap move?
“Yeah, you’re natural instincts off of four, ‘Here we come.’ Not to mention the run you get through the corner. That’s usually where a run starts and it progresses and you catch them and you make a move right there at the exit of the corner. You’ve got to be careful when you do it, because it is a long ways to the start-finish line. You’ve definitely got to keep that in mind as you’re making your moves. But at the end of the day, if the run’s there, the help’s behind you, you’ve got to go.
If you drag your brakes right there in that situation, they’re going to get to the outside of you, stall you out and your opportunity is going to be gone. You’ve just go to make sure that when you make a move that you’ve got the help and they’re committed. You’re at least halfway confident that they’re committed behind you, because you can’t do it by yourself unless you guys are just out by yourselves gone like I was — Jeff Burton and I were a couple of years ago. It makes it tricky. You definitely have to think about where that start/finish line is as you’re coming, approaching that last lap.”
Is attitude important at Talladega?
“Absolutely. There’s a lot of guys that come to this track worried, nervous and not scared that they’re going to get hurt I don’t think. It’s scared that they’re going to lose points, they’re going to get caught up in a crash and it’s going to cost them and take them a month to overcome a bad race. Looking at my Chase last year, this race right here cost me a shot at a championship. This was the one race that I felt like we lost enough points that we couldn’t make up for it racing against the caliber of teams that we were. That being said, these are important race tracks. You’ve got to be good at them. You’ve got to have a good attitude and that goes a long ways, just like you said. Attitude is a big part of this, but it goes towards being a student while you’re out there, learning as much as you can. That’s the trick thing about these situations at these race tracks — you get here, well we’re scared to practice because we don’t want to tear them up because that’s the best car we’ve got. That’s the best opportunity of winning that we have. Until you’re out there under the race and you’re like, ‘I need to learn something. Now we’re single file and I’m not learning here either, so you get to the end of the thing and nobody has really learned anything and all hell breaks loose as we’re trying to figure it out with two or three to go and try to win the race for our teams. It’s a fun situation, but you better make sure that you’re having fun with it. If you’re miserable the whole time you’re here, you’re not going to make the right decisions and probably not going to have the success.”
Does your result in the fall race change your strategy at all?
“There’s not as much on the line this time. And there’s a hell of a lot of fans here. It is fun winning in front a packed house like that in the grandstand like that. When you do a burnout, it’s pretty cool. You look up and see all those fans. This is a track you want to win at.”
What does your mom mean to your career?
“Oh, mom – everything. She’s been with me and is usually at every race track. Missing it this weekend. Definitely be there next weekend. It’s always fun to have her here. I’m telling you, she’s a racer. She wants to win and she’s going to tell you, ‘You’re doing wrong — shape up,’ when you need it and she’s going to tell you, ‘Proud of you,’ and, ‘You did a good job,’ when she’s proud of you. Just a neat lady and we all enjoy her.”