MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
GOBOWLING AT THE GLEN
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 3, 2019
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1, met with media to discus his thoughts on road course racing, how he has prepared to race The Glen this weekend, the difference in pressure on being in the Playoffs or on the bubble, and more. Full Transcript:
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE SPECIAL HELMET FOR THIS WEEKEND
“We have a lot of different partners that we get to do really cool and meaningful things with and we have a helmet through the ‘Accelerate the Cure’ contest. It’s got to do with finding a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. I don’t know a lot about Cystic Fibrosis but I’ve been learning about it and hearing people’s stories throughout the course of events that have been done for this contest. I’m really excited to show everybody. I think the helmet looks great. It’s always really cool to have partners that do things to make things more meaningful and that hit home.”
WHEN YOU STARTED TO LEARN ABOUT THE GLEN AND TRYING TO PREPARE, HOW BIT A DEAL IS THE INNER LOOP AND HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE MASTERED IT BY NOW, OR NONE AT ALL?
“I’ll go with not at all (laughs). This is a place that historically we’ve struggled at. We struggled last year here. I was really sick. But, road course racing has never been in my background or something that I’ve felt super confidant about. At Sonoma we were really fast throughout the weekend and then struggled in the race and lost power steering. We were really hit and miss at the road races last year. I’m going to try like hell today. Other than that it’s just watching a lot of tape. I went to the simulator this week, which I’ve only gone to once this year, just trying everything I can try. But, I think it’s just a matter of experience and getting reps here. This is only my second time here, competitively. I’m just trying to really learn about it and do the best job I can do.”\
“I think just carrying speed through the center section is really important. I felt like last year I over-slowed it compared to the guys I was racing around. So, I’ve just got to carry speed through it.”
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE MAYBE SLIGHTLY LESS HORSEPOWER THAN LAST YEAR, BUT WAY MORE DOWNFORCE. ARE YOU EXPECTING SPEEDS TO BE UP AT A TRACK WHERE IT’S ALREADY FAST?
“I think we don’t really know how fast we’re going to go. But I think we’re going to go faster, for sure. We were trying to figure that out in the simulator of what the target lap time really is, or isn’t. When I got in there and ran the lap times that they kind of targeted to begin with, I was like man, this feels like it has way too much grip. But, who knows? Maybe we unload for practice and that’s what we really have. So, it’ll be interesting to see where we really end up and what the speeds are. I’m looking forward to it.”
THE NEW CREW CHIEF, CLIFF DANIELS, FOR THE NO. 48 (JIMMIE JOHNSON) WAS SAYING THEY FEEL CONFIDENT WITH THE STRATEGY BECAUSE THEY CAN GO OFF OF WHAT CHASE ELLIOTT DID TO WIN HERE LAST YEAR. ARE YOU AWARE OF THAT AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? DOES EVERYBODY LOOK AT WHAT THE NO. 9 TEAM DID LAST YEAR TO EXECUTE AND SAY THAT’S A GOOD GAME PLAN?
“Yeah, they obviously executed very well. But they were really fast, as well. Chase does a really good job at these race tracks, especially here. He is able to be competitive really, regardless of what the strategy was. I think on my side of things, we’ve got to get the speed to where he was at. I definitely feel like I was more of the issue than the race car was last year. But, we’ve just got to do the best job we can.”
ARE YOU RELIEVED THAT YOU’RE ALREADY IN THE PLAYOFFS AND DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT DOING WELL HERE? IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE A LITTLE LESS CONFIDENT ABOUT THIS PLACE
“It’s just not one of my better places. I don’t think I’m less confident because I worked really hard throughout the week to try to be more prepared and to do a better job. I was really confident about Sonoma and Saturday went really well and then Sunday came, and we struggles. So, I’m just trying to figure out what the correlation is from practice to the race and how to carry speed over into the race and how to get your car where you need it throughout practice to race well. It’s just something I’ve struggled to put together at this race track.”
HOW IS THE DYNAMIC DIFFERENT BETWEEN YOU AND CHASE ELLIOTT COMPARED TO THE OTHER TWO TEAMS? YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN LOCKED-IN FOR A WHILE. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY BEEN LOOKING TOWARD THE PLAYOFFS?
“It’s definitely allowed us to be aggressive with things and try some things throughout the last couple of weeks and just try to find things that are going to help our race car throughout the playoffs and not have to worry about if it doesn’t work. We’re definitely locked-in. But we’re here still to win every week and to see what we can make happen each week. We’re just probably a little more aggressive and we’re not necessarily worried about Stage points. We’re more worried about finishing position and stuff like that. It just kind of determines our strategy a little bit in the sense that we’re not going to go get Stage points and settle for 20th because of the Stage points. We’re trying to win races.”
LAST YEAR AT THIS TIME, YOU WERE ON THAT BUBBLE SPOT BUT THERE WAS A BIG GAP AND IT WASN’T AS TIGHT AS IT IS FOR SOME OF THE GUYS NOW. WHAT IS LIFE LIKE BEING ON THE BUBBLE? I KNOW IT’S NOT LIKE WHAT CLINT BOWYER AND RYAN NEWMAN AND JIMMIE JOHNSON ARE GOING THROUGH RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THE GAP IS CLOSER
“It’s definitely tough. It’s not a lot of fun. It’s a lot of stress and a lot of pressure. It really wasn’t that bad last year until we got to Indy and we crashed pretty early and we were kind of riding around just trying to finish. And I could see that Jamie McMurray was pretty close to the front, and, I’m like trying to look past 30 cars on restarts and see where everybody’s at. So, that was really stressful. I was talking to Jimmie about it last week, actually. It’s just interesting how they approach it. I feel like Jimmie, obviously, is going to do a better job of approaching it than I would just based on experience. My question to him was if he still gets nervous and still gets butterflies in his stomach or whatever after winning seven championships. It was just interesting to talk to him about how he’s feeling versus how I felt last year and all that. It’s been really cool getting to lean on him throughout the year and learn how he approaches situations like that.”
“I think you’ve got to ask him that. I can’t give away all the answers. He’s an open book, so it’s really cool to be able to lean on him.”
YOU’VE ONLY USED THE SIMULATOR TWICE THIS YEAR? CAN YOU ELABORATE ON THAT?
“I feel like there was a time when we were able to use it really effectively. When you’re going to a race track where you haven’t raced with this rules package, you don’t really know what the lap times are going to be. You don’t really know what the grip level is going to be. So, it’s hard to get in the simulator and perfectly correlate what you’re going to have when you get here. And sometimes you almost dial yourself out with it. I just pick and choose the places that I’d like to run it. So, I’ve run it before Sonoma and before Watkins Glen just trying to get the breaking points down and stuff like that. I think just as much as the simulator can help you it can probably hurt you in certain situations. I try to use it a little better than if I would just put 100 percent in on it every week.”
GOING TO MICHIGAN NEXT WEEK WITH THE NEW AERO PACKAGE, DO YOU HAVE A GAME PLAN FOR NEXT WEEK?
“Yeah, I’m looking forward to Michigan. We raced really well there earlier this year. We were running in the top 5. The last green-white-checkered we were stuck on the bottom and couldn’t really go anywhere. But, it’s a fun place. I think the aero package obviously changed it quite a bit. It’ll be interesting to see how everybody has learned each and every week we take that package to the race track. It’ll be interesting to see what it’s like going back there versus the first time and see if guys have figured out new stuff or changed their approach. I thought our car drove really well there last time. We were a little down on single car speed, but it turned into a good race for us. So, we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.