MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 30, 2019
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA THROWBACK CAMARO ZL1 Media Breakout Session Highlights:
THE SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT HAS BEEN FANTASTIC. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT HAS GONE INTO THAT?
“It has been fun, for sure. I think I’m pretty shy and keep to myself at times, so I had to get into character a little bit there during that photo shoot. It’s been fun to do. We have one picture per day for the whole week, so that’s been neat. It’s been a lot of fun.”
DO YOU FEEL MORE POWERFUL WHEN YOU HAVE THE OUTFIT OR UNIFORM ON?
“When I have the wig, mustache, aviators and Tim Richmond fire suit, I’m just not me anymore (laughs). I guess in character would be the best way to say that. It took me a minute for sure during the photo shoot. I was like man this is awkward, but it was pretty cool.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?
“I think consistency is the key improvement we need. We go to a lot of places that we are really strong at and there are a lot of good tracks for us in the Playoffs, but at the same time, we are very hit and miss here lately. We have a lot of work to do I think, but I think the tracks that suit us can be very good. Starting at a place like Vegas, going back to Kansas and Dover, we are going to a lot of tracks that are good for us so we should be really strong.”
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS HAS A STELLAR RECORD AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY. I THINK EARLY IN YOUR CAREER, YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE TAKEN AN INDYCAR RIDE OR NASCAR RIDE. WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO ALEX BOWMAN TO KISS THE BRICKS?
“It would be really special. I grew up racing a lot at IRP down the street, so getting a win there would be equally as special. I’ve ran second there in a midget a couple of times and have always been frustrated by that one. It’s a place that is definitely special to me. I’ve won a quarter midget race there in the infield, that’s the closest I’ve gotten. I haven’t really ever gotten a good day there. That place hates me a little bit, but hopefully we have a better day this year.”
HAVE YOU TALKED TO JIMMIE JOHNSON ABOUT IT AT ALL GIVEN HIS SUCCESS AT THAT TRACK?
“Yeah, I mean I think he’s obviously been really successful there. Jeff (Gordon) obviously has a lot of success there as well. It’s just going to be so different there this year with this rules package. It’s so hard to predict what’s going to be fast, where you need to run and how you need to approach it. Just like this place was coming into Darlington, we were all questioning if we were going to be against the wall, off the wall, are we going to be wide open in 1 & 2 or are we going to have to lift. So, it’s just a lot of unknowns going anywhere with this rules package this year that we haven’t been to previously.”
YOU HAD MENTIONED A LACK OF POWER ON THE RADIO TODAY. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE SENSATION YOU WERE LOOKING FOR AND WHAT YOU COULDN’T FIND?
“It’s just 3 & 4 is a lot different, especially when you run the bottom and you really slow the corner down. You used to fight wheel spin and forward drive pretty bad off of 4 from the bottom. Now, you can kind of just go wide open. So, it’s more just fighting center turn than anything. I’m sure 40 laps into a run during the race it will start to be a little different, but it’s just looking for different things in the race car just because of how the power effects how the car needs to be driven here.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE TURNS 1 & 2?
“I was wide open on stickers, but other than that, I’ve been lifting a little bit down there. I saw the 24 is really fast through 1 & 2 and he was definitely wide open, so I think that is where most of our speed is at and we really need to work on it. It’s different going down in there wide open. You feel like you are going really fast through there for sure.”
IS 1 & 2 GOING TO BE TOUGH ON OLDER TIRES?
“I think the whole track gets tougher, but 1 & 2 for me is where my car was falling off the most. I think it’s going to be really dependent on what your race car is doing.”
PLAYING THE ROLE OF TIM RICHMOND THIS YEAR, HOW MUCH FUN ARE YOU HAVING?
“I begged for it last year, but couldn’t make it happen. It has been a lot of fun. It has gotten me out of my shell a little bit, which is tough to do if you haven’t noticed that (laughs). It has been a good time so far. It’s cool to be in a Hendrick Motorsports car and throwing back to Tim Richmond is pretty special.”
“I’d say he’s probably the polar opposite of me in a lot of ways, but it’s been interesting to learn more about him and see all the cool stuff he drove.”
TALKING ABOUT THE PLAYOFFS, HAVE YOU TALKED TO YOUR CREW CHIEF ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN?
“Locking in has changed it quite a bit, just with how aggressive we are able to be and how much we have been able to try things lately. I think I learned this last year throughout the Playoffs. We had a decent start to the Playoffs and had a lot of speed at places. I’m looking forward to getting started this year. I think the layout just kind of suits us with where our cars are strong and where we struggle at. So, I’m excited for it.”
BEING SOMEONE FROM A GENERATION THAT WITNESSED JIMMIE JOHNSON’S SUCCESS, WHAT’S IT LIKE TO SEE HIM IN THE POSITION HE IS CURRENTLY OUTSIDE OF THE PLAYOFFS.
“Yeah, it’s interesting for sure. We are doing all we can to get Jimmie (Johnson) into the Playoffs. But, at the end of the day, they’ve had a lot of bad luck and a tough year. He is still more motivated and fired up than ever, at least since I’ve been around. He’s a big part in the success that I’ve had I feel like. He definitely still has it and he’s not given up. They have two more chances to win or get a lot of stage points and point their way in. I think everyone has learned over the years that you can’t count the 48 out by any means.”
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO HELP JIMMIE (JOHNSON)?
“We just all share everything we can. I’m not sure how Jimmie Johnson can ask for my help, I’m not sure what I really have to offer. But, if he did, I’d be all in for whatever he needs for sure.”
YOU HAVE A GREAT PERSONALITY; IT HAS JUST BEEN SLOWLY COMING OUT. AFTER WE SEE YOU WINNING MORE, WILL WE SEE MORE OF WHO YOU ARE?
“Yeah, that or when Kelsey (Tucker) starts yelling at me when I do things that are going to start getting me in trouble. It’s a tough balance. I feel like I have a really good relationship with my race team and I’m definitely my self around them, but at the same time, you don’t want to get yourself in trouble. I feel like I say dumb things quite often and I stick my foot in my mouth quite often around my friends and my team, so that’s probably enough for me to deal with and I don’t need to do it in public as well (laughs). It’s my job, I have to be somewhat professional about it. I don’t want to get in trouble. I’ve been yelled at enough over the years.”
YOU HAD MENTIONED IN THE PAST THAT THERE WAS A LITTLE MORE STRESS AT INDIANAPOLIS LAST YEAR BECAUSE OF YOUR POINTS POSITION, EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS A BIG ENOUGH GAP IN A SENSE. AS A WINNER, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT THESE NEXT TWO WEEKENDS GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?
“I think a lot of it is building momentum these two weeks after the off weekend. The first off weekend of the year was a really good reset for us and I want to use this off weekend the same way. At the same time, we are working super hard on our Vegas stuff, really focused on that and getting it going. I’m excited to go to Indianapolis. We might actually get to practice this year, so that’d be nice. Every time I’ve been there, something has happened. So, I just want to have a good, solid race there. I feel like I still don’t have a good hang of that place and I’m still learning every time I go there.”
HAS HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS PICKED UP ON THE INTERMEDIATE TRACK PROGRAM?
“I think so. I think that’s our best program, other than our superspeedway program. Our cars are extraordinary every time we go to a superspeedway. But our 1.5-mile program is our strongest program right now. I think our short track program is the program that we need to work on and try to pick up. Richmond was a big struggle for us when we were there in the spring and we need to be strong when we go back.”
WHAT CAN A TEAM GET OUT OF THESE LAST FEW WEEKS?
“Momentum. I think the biggest thing is when you have good momentum and things are going well, the moral of the team is up, everyone is getting along really well, everyone is having fun and just the atmosphere going to the track is better. When you’ve been beat down and things aren’t going your way, you start seeing personalities clash, tempers flare, and things just get frustrating. It’s just like if you start a weekend off well, you tend to run well. But if you unload off or have an issue before you even get on the track for the first run, it ends up not being a good weekend for you. You just have to keep things rolling in the right direction at all times.”
WHERE ARE YOU GUYS AT, SPONSORSHIP WISE, FOR 2020?
“I know everyone is working really hard at it. I don’t even know any details that I can even leak to anyone; they don’t tell me any of that stuff. I just know everyone is working really hard at filling it out and we’ll see.”
“Mr. Hendrick made it very clear that even if nothing comes together, we’ll be just fine and I’ll still be in the car. As much as it’s a big part of what we do in getting sponsorship, I’m not too worried about it. I’m just worried about doing my job on the track.”
Team Chevy high-resolution racing photos are available for editorial use.
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