Ford Performance NASCAR: Clint Bowyer Bristol Media Availability

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, August 16, 2019
EVENT: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, Bristol, TN. (Media Availabilities)

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Peak Lighting Ford Mustang – DO YOU LOVE THIS PLACE? “Anybody that hates this place shoudn’t be in racing because this is the mecca of all race tracks. This is the granddaddy of them all. There’s no question. Look at this place. Look at the grandstands. Look at that picture right there and then look at one of what it looks like today’s day and age. I mean, there’s nothing like this place and tracks like this we need all across the country. A fan, if they want to be a fan of this sport, they need to learn short track racing and they need to learn of Bristol Motor Speedway. There’s not a fan, a family member, a friend, anybody that I know that I wouldn’t point in the direction of Bristol Motor Speedway, so as a racer on the race track it’s no different.”

WHAT MAKES THIS PLACE SPECIAL? “Just the unknown, being able to go for it, being able to not worry about an aero push or horsepower deficit or whatever the case may be – get ahold of the steering wheel, get ahold of the gas pedal and make something happen and this is a track where you can do that.”

American Muscle

WHAT RACE WIN IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE? “Man, I can’t answer that without saying two. The first one is always the most memorable because of all the years of working and trying and dreaming, ins-and-outs, peaks-and-valleys, and all of a sudden you’re standing there in Victory Lane, beat all of the best of the best and people you grew up watching as heroes, people you’ve been accustomed to racing with your professional career, knowing that people you raced against that taught you how to race and made you the racer that you are were watching. All of those aspects, all of those come out with your first win. I mean, you’re sitting there in Victory Lane with your family and your crew guys and everybody that made that happen for you and you’re like, ‘Holy cow, this just happened.’ And then from that it was a long time, a long void last year when we finally broke back into Victory Lane, and now you’ve got a new family and kids and the whole new aspect of your life that had never got to see you win a race or anything like that, so that was pretty special. It’s hard for me to answer that one without saying both of those.”

WHAT IS YOUR MINDSET BEING ON THE BUBBLE AND DO YOU FEEL MAKING THE PLAYOFFS WILL HAVE A BEARING ON BEING BACK WITH SHR NEXT YEAR? “I was feeling good last week. I’ve been feeling good – snakebit is how I’m feeling. Every time you get to feel like, I told Jimmie this morning I was like, ‘Hey, do not have anything happen to you this weekend because every time you do something happens to me.’ Every time I get that feeling you’re in a good place, just ride right here, something happens. A flat tire in Watkins leading up to last weekend. Things were going good and we were gonna put probably a 30-point pad on what we needed to. I mean, literally just trying to get to the end of the thing and survive and couldn’t, so snakebit, I’m definitely feeling that. Aside from that, for next year we’ve worked hard with what partners that we had and building those, and we have. We brought a lot of new partners on board. We’re still talking to more partners. It’s hard to sell. You’ve got to be the complete package and I feel like we still are. We’re still with the right organization, the right manufacturer. All the pieces of the puzzle are there. I’m still having fun. I still enjoy this. I want to race and I think we’re in a good spot, I really do.”

DOES THIS MAKE THE HARD DAYS WORSE WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BETTER THAN A 16TH-PLACE TEAM? “It sucks to be frustrated. We’ve had really good runs this year. I mean, if you look back at Richmond I wish I’d have just moved Denny and won the race and the rest would have been history. We wouldn’t even be talking about this, but I think I still would have been sitting here even with a win frustrated. Even if you had that win and you were in the Playoffs and everything else it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to just go to the Playoffs. I remember the Chiefs, they go to the Playoffs the first round and they’re out. That sucked. I want to be in it to the end and win a championships. You go to the Playoffs to win a championship. You don’t go to the Playoffs just to get your picture taken with the Playoff group. It’s a business. There’s money on the line. There’s prestige on the line. There’s trophies on the line and a big damn trophy at the end of it with a huge check. That is what you go to the Playoffs for, so finishing to our capabilities, yes, when I say we’re not a 16th-place team, we’re not. We’ve shown our capabilities. We run in the top five, but the reality is we are right now and it’s because of lack of finishes, DNFs, and things like that and not finishing to our capabilities and that’s what we’ve got to get ironed out and we’ve got three races to do it.”

HAVE YOU TALKED TO OTHER DRIVERS ABOUT DALE’S INCIDENT YESTERDAY AND WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION? “You know you really don’t. You just sit there with your wife, we were driving up the road and all of a sudden your phone starts blowing up. It’s always scary for me. You’re riding. The kids actually – Presley, she started dropping cylinders. We had an explosion on whatever exit it was. We had to pull over and take care of that and my phone rang literally like six or seven times while this is going on. By the time I got out of the gas station and got our mess cleaned up, I realized that Dale was in trouble and it just takes your breath away. Those are people that are our friends, family of NASCAR and when you see them in trouble like that, you see that video, that hits home. You could literally see, that’s how we travel. Gus comes out of that thing. I could see Tripp in the same way and my wife and I just couldn’t imagine. You can’t really put yourself in that situation and it was very, very scary for all of us to be able to watch that and have to watch that. Thank God they got out of it. Thank God they’re all safe, but that is definitely a wake-up call for all of us. We’re pretty fortunate to be able to fly around and do the things we do, but it’s still a dangerous sport no matter where you look. Things like that, that are the luxuries of being able to travel like that are still dangerous things.”

YOU WOULD BE HOME AT DARLINGTON WITH PEARSON AND YARBOROUGH. “Darlington is not good to me. I don’t know what I do wrong there. I’ll just fix it right there. I’ll take over from here. Everything at Darlington, I’ve always run well there, been up front and everything is going fine, it’s one of those tracks where you get down to the end and I can’t finish the damn thing. We’ve got to be able to figure that out because I really do enjoy the challenge of Darlington. That is an extremely difficult track to get around. It’s an animal. Trying to stay out of the wall, that’s obviously first and foremost, but being able to navigate traffic because you’re always in that. Even if you’re the leader you’re in traffic. It’s a bear, but a lot of fun. I always look forward to going there. I love that old-school aspect of the fans – as big as the race track is the infield seems extremely tight. We take the dog out at night and be able to watch people take in our racing and that’s one of my favorite things to do is cruise around and see how people take our sport and enjoy our sport in different ways. It’s all aspects. Some people enjoy family. Some people they’re college buddies. They’ve got a new college crowd down there in one and two that’s super-killer for all those guys throwing a big party for them, and having a large time as their school is getting back going, but it’s always been a special race and a challenging race and a lot of fun to go down there as well.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE OLDER CARS THAT USED TO RACE? “I always thought it would be neat, if you could, to be able to put those cars back on the track and have us be able to race them – or even today’s technology, just make the rules mandate those old cars and see. The crazy thing is you can’t unlearn the evolution of racing and everything that we’ve learned over the years. These engineers and guys, they could make those guys so much faster than they were back then, but it’s not fair. It’s not fair to the guys back then. They didn’t have the tools and simulation and all the things that they have today, so I can tell you because of those cars that racing is where it is. Those guys taught these kids and these guys that are building chassis and making these cars go fast today learned from those guys, and they learn pretty fast. But it would be cool to be able to go back and put those old jalopies back on the track and see what would happen. The only thing I never figured out about them is how hot those guys looked and everything else, and every time we take the windows out of our cars it’s like putting air conditioning in them. I can’t tell you how much cooler my car was in Watkins Glen than any other race track. Simply taking out the right side window make a huge difference, so those cars even had wing window in them for crying out loud. I need a wing window.”

DID YOU TALK TO ALMIROLA AFTER PRACTICE? “Yeah, he did. He had a really good hole and kind of ran a lot of laps by himself and things like that, and had a good thing going on with his car. It seemed like everybody was a lot tighter this time around than we were last time around, which we all kind of anticipated, so, for us, we were just trying to get as much as we could on the car as possible so we could go back and go through it all. We were really good in the spring race here and the last several times we’ve been here, but to get better you need to get a lot of things on the car and try to dissect it all, so you can’t really just settle in and make those long runs and raise the track bar up or put a round of wedge in it. I didn’t want to do the things that we’re gonna do in the race. You need to get the things learned as much as you can of things that you can’t afford to do in the race or can because of whatever the case may be.”

ANY OFF WEEK PLANS? “Sturgis was fun. We’re just gonna hang out with the kids and stay around here. I’ve been on the road a lot lately. I was informed I was on the road for 13 days by my son and I was like, ‘You know what, that’s not being a very good dad, bud. I will be home. We will hang out.’ So we’re gonna hang out.”

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