Ford Performance NASCAR: Clint Bowyer and Ryan Newman Richmond Media Availabilities

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)
Friday, September 20, 2019
EVENT: Federated Auto Parts 400, Richmond Raceway (Media Availabilities)

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 CSU/One Cure Ford Mustang – WHAT WAS LAST YEAR LIKE AT THE ROVAL WITH ALL THE UNCERTAINTY AND HOW DID YOU HANDLE THAT? “A lot of unknowns going into something like the Roval or any new race track or endeavor that we do with our sport it’s always nerve-racking times. I think the Roval, you get so busy in your days and living in the moment, living in that week wherever that week may be, whether it’s leading up to the Playoffs or before, you don’t think about the distant future until it becomes the near future. Once everyone got in the Playoffs it was like, ‘All right, the Playoffs have started. We’ve got the Playoffs mindset. Let’s focus on these first couple races and then, oh my God, the Roval! What! Do you mean the Roval is a cutoff race?’ That’s when it starts to become reality. It’s not that it wasn’t on the schedule punching you in the face every time, but it doesn’t register until it’s in the forefront and it’s real. You’re preparing for the Roval, preparing for a track and a race a weekend you haven’t seen before, so it’s definitely nerve-racking, but to be honest with you, I don’t know whether it’s my personality or driving style, I don’t know what it is but I always seem to be better in those situations than I am at a place that I’ve been to 100 times.”


American Muscle

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS WEEKEND? “I’m excited to be at a good track for me. I said this earlier, but just because you were good here in the sprint doesn’t mean you’re gonna come back here and set the world on fire. Certainly, we had a shot at it in the spring and hope that we have a shot at it here. Just like you expected, a little bit different challenges. The track is a little bit hotter, a little slicker, balance is a little bit more important. As we fall into night some of that will narrow up a little bit, but, really, you will always seem to fight a little bit more in the fall for grip and for balance than you do in the spring. You’ve just got to make good decisions here. That’s why I was late here. I was back there going through all the data, going through all the things trying to do everything you can do to make sure that you’re prepared for not only this qualifying session, but for the race. Those long runs. You know it’s gonna be long runs. It always is. You’ve got to have that thing turning, but not too good. That’s the thing, you’ve got to roll the middle. You cannot be bound up here. If you say that word ‘tight’, you’re in big trouble. It doesn’t matter if it’s the end of a run or the beginning of a run, tight is no good. But, if you’re too loose in, you’re in big trouble, so that’s the fine line that you walk when you’re trying to balance out your car in practice sessions in the heat of the day for a night race when you know it’s gonna have more grip. Like I said, that window will narrow up a little bit from the corner being broke up, but it’ll still be there.”

YOU HAD TO RACE YOUR WAY IN THE PLAYOFFS AND NOW YOU HAVE TO TRY AND GET ABOVE THE CUTLINE. HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH THAT PRESSURE? “I hate to say it selfishly, but I had a long week and haven’t had a lot of chance to think about where we’re at or what’s coming. I knew Richmond was coming. I knew that we had a good base package here. I knew that we needed to get here and figure it out from there. I was confident in what we were gonna show up with, confident in our equipment and our fundamentals, so from there you’ve got to – a little bit of spring out here, a little bit of spring in there type of thing – wedge in and out – just balance and hone in and fine-tune your setup is what I knew was ahead of me and what we’ve been battling all day long. I made a mock qualifying run and was a little bit too loose. We needed to adjust on that a little bit. Again, just balancing out the car for the conditions because they’re a little bit different than the last time we were here.”

THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT HOW HARD IT IS TO PASS. WHY IS IT DIFFERENT NOW? “If I really think back, passing used to be pretty easy. It’s extremely hard right now. It’s challenging and it’s been a while since we’ve been on a short track like this. The last time we were here it was about as tough as I’ve seen it with our sport and it could be worse this time because it’s gonna be slicker. It’s a little hotter.”

WHY WAS THAT? “We kind of knew that when we looked at the package, collectively as a group and we were in meetings and things like that, and, again, it’s above my pay grade and kind of went down the path of maybe an RTA decision for budgets and things like that. I do remember a time where we weren’t gonna have these be that way. They were gonna have to be almost a third car to build for those cars and they collectively made the decision to make it just a 550 and a 750 deal, but I think the aero package and the horsepower is definitely a big part of the struggle to pass. We saw it in the spring race. I mean, I was way faster than him, literally. I think about it every day. I hate to use the word because it’s not a very good word for a race car driver to use, but I was dumbfounded. I knew when I caught him I was gonna blow his doors off and go on and win the race, or at least go to the next caution and have my hands full to deal with whatever then, but as far as passing him that was a no-brainer, easy-peesie, and I got to him and within a lap-and-a-half my mindset went from no problem to oh no, I’m not gonna pass him.”


HAS YOUR MENTALITY CHANGED TO THE MUST-WIN WAY OF THINKING? “It’s kind of a must-win situation at all times. In life if you wake up and say, ‘I don’t really need to win today,’ you’re probably gonna suck.”

RYAN NEWMAN, No. 6 Roush Performance Ford Mustang – HOW WAS PRACTICE? “We had a good practice. Both practices we came off the truck pretty competitive and I felt like we have a good Roush Performance Ford. It’s nice to see that we’ve shown the progression here this weekend especially over what we learned the first race to be more competitive on a Friday than we were in the spring.”

A KEY RACE FOR YOU THIS WEEKEND? “Every race is a key race.”

HOW DID YOU FEEL ABOUT PRACTICE? “We were pretty good. I felt like it drove pretty good. We were real competitive speed-wise, running right there with guys that had good averages – the 4, the 42 was pretty good, the 12, 2, 22 – all good cars that we seemed to be able to mix it up with, so we’ll just do our thing.”

HOW TOUGH WILL THIS RACE BE? “I don’t know. I’ve seen it go two different ways. Just go back to look at Vegas where it was last year and this year, where it was in the spring race versus this year. You can’t predict it, so I don’t know what to predict this race. This race has typically been with the exception of last year the cutoff race and you saw a lot of sparks flying and attitudes and things like that, but I think it still has that capability, just happens to be a middle of the road Playoff race, not the final cutoff.”

YOU SAID YOU WERE WHOOPED FROM MANHANDLING THE CAR. DOES THIS RACE DO THAT TO YOU AS WELL IF THE CAR ISN’T RIGHT? “I think it has the potential. It was 140 degrees or whatever inside the car last week and I was loose every lap of the race, so I worked really hard inside the car and probably was a little dehydrated at the end just in hindsight, but I was fine. I didn’t feel like I gave anything up, I just used it all.”

AND A SHORT TRACK WILL TAKE IT OUT OF YOU IN A DIFFERENT WAY. “I don’t think it necessarily plays that way. If you have a bad car or get into it with somebody, yeah, it can but it can be like that anywhere.”

DO YOU CONSIDER THIS ONE OF YOUR BETTER TRACKS ON THE CIRCUIT? “I think yeah, for sure. If you’re looking at it from perspective, I look at Richmond, Martinsville and Phoenix as my three most competitive race tracks in the last 10. I’ve run good at the other ones – Homestead and Kansas even, places like that, but I think the short tracks have just been more suitable for us this year.”

THEY’RE ALL FAIRLY FLAT. “I love banked race tracks, but my stats are really good on flat tracks for some reason. Then again, short tracks too this year and just the fact that you’re having to use the brake and having to drive the car versus just who can hold it wide-open.”

PASSING HAS ALWAYS BEEN HARD. WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT IT THIS YEAR? “It’s definitely different and that, I think, if you have experience, makes it harder because you’re used to passing a certain way. You’re driving the car a certain way and you really had to change up how you carry momentum and how you drive the race car this year, and a lot less braking, a lot faster mid-corner speeds because of the downforce, and your momentum seems to be more important than your acceleration, where you acceleration used to be more important. I think overall it just makes it difficult to pass when the cars are making so much downforce. I’ve always been a big fan of less downforce, in fact zero downforce means the cars are gonna be easier to race in dirty air. That’s just the fact of it. Have less aerodynamic influence when you’re not making any downforce. It’s kind of a no-brainer to me, but for some reason technology and egos and people in offices like to add downforce.”

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR CONSISTENCY THIS YEAR AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE PLAYOFFS GOING FORWARD. “I feel like we’ve done a good job of fixing things that we didn’t get right the first time around. We proved that today. We proved that in Vegas. We struggled at Darlington. We struggled a little bit going back to Michigan. We had a better finish the first race than the second race, but I think overall we’ve progressed as a team and keep proving that. So many new things this year as I’ve stated before. The cars are driving different. The people, the manufacturer, all the things that go into what we do here in the garage and on the race track has been so different than any time in my entire racing career, so playing catch up is not easy to do in our sport, but I think we’ve all been doing it with this 6 car and proven that we can make some results. We just haven’t got to where we need to be and want to be.”

WHY DO YOU SEE THE ROVAL AS A NORMAL RACE? “It’s still 60-plus points or whatever that number is. It’s not like it offers more points. It’s not like there’s one guy that’s gonna guarantee with the race. There might be more corners that are different situations, but I don’t necessarily think that you can go back and look at the Roval last year and compare it to any 500-miler on the oval and say, ‘Man, those results were way different.’ I mean, there are still good guys that crashed, there are good guys that got crashed, there’s still good guys that had bad pit stops and there’s still somebody that won. I don’t know that in the end it’s really any different, I think it’s just viewed as different.”

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