MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE
BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 27, 2019
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE RETIREMENT PLANS CAMARO ZL1, met with media to discuss race strategy for this cutoff round in the Playoffs, the value of stage points and qualifying well, and more. Full Transcript:
JOSEF NEWGARDEN IS GOING TO BE MAKING SOME LAPS TODAY. FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, ARE NASCAR RACE CARS AND INDYCAR RACE CARS SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT OR ALIKE? YOU’RE PRETTY YOUNG, BUT IS THAT SOMETHING THAT MAYBE WOULD INTEREST YOU IF THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY CAME UP, WHETHER IT’S A ONE-OFF AT AN INDY 500 OR ANOTHER COURSE, OR A FULL-TIME RIDE IN THAT SERIES?
“Yeah, I think it’s really neat. I’m excited to see that. Obviously they are a ton faster than we are and lighter and have way more downforce and just a lot more grip. They stop a lot better. They kind of do everything we wish our cars did, a little better. It’ll be neat to see. I think they are obviously completely different animals. There’s not a whole lot of similarities between the two other than four tires and a steering wheel. But, it’ll be really cool to see. I’d love to run IndyCar. I don’t necessarily know that I’d want to run an oval, but at a road course, it would be a ton of fun.”
I’M SURE YOU’D LIKE TO BE UP IN THE TOP 7 IN POINTS WITH A LOT MORE BREATHING ROOM. WHAT’S THE OUTLOOK COMING IN HERE? YOU ARE A PERSON WHO DRIVES OFF MOTIVATION. DO YOU SORT OF USE MOTIVATION TO GET THROUGH THIS ROUND?
“Yeah, I kind of just have to run well, right? So, we went straight to P2 in practice in race trim and then everybody mocked-up and we had some issues in the garage and didn’t get back out to make a mock run, but we need to qualify up front. We need to get a bunch of stage points. We have to run well. We don’t really have a choice. It would be pretty unacceptable to not make the next round for use, I feel like. It’s been frustrating. I don’t necessarily know that our last two performances deserve to make the next round, but I feel like our potential deserves to make it. We just need to do a better job of qualifying, and start up front, and be able to score some stage points throughout the day, and go from there. You look at who we are around, we’ve beat the No. 24 (William Byron) at both races and he’s gained points on us, just based on stage points. So, we haven’t been doing a good job of that, but that’s just part of it. We need to step it up and we have to go run well this week.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO DOVER, HOW DO YOU LIKE RACING THAT TRACK AND WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS, ESPECIALLY NOW THAT WE’RE GOING BACK TO A LOT OF THESE TRACKS FOR THE SECOND TIME WITH THIS PACKAGE?
“That’s a place where I have had a few okay days but never really a great day. I’ve kind of struggled to know what I need in a race car to race well. We kind of went a different direction there in the spring, and we raced really well. So, I’m excited to get back there. Everywhere in the second round of the Playoffs I’m excited to get to, but Dover is going to be a lot of fun. It’s so fast with this rules package. It’s a blast to drive. And, obviously our race car was really good there in the spring and I expect to be really strong there this time, as well.”
LAST WEEK AT RICHMOND YOU AND AUSTIN DILLON HAD A RUN-IN AND YOU HAD SOME COMMENTS ON THE RADIO. CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH WHAT THAT ENCOUNTER WAS AND WHERE YOUR RELATIONSHIP IS NOW?
“I don’t think there is a relationship there. And what the comment was, you heard it. I said what I said. So, I was obviously frustrated with that situation but I think it hurt his day more than it hurt mine. We kind of ran where we were going to run anyway. It’s just frustrating. I got ran all the way to the inside wall down the front straightaway and then just turned. It is what it is. I’m not immediately worried about it. You typically don’t see him at these places anyway.”
WITH YOU AND WILLIAM BYRON ON EITHER SIDE OF THE CUTLINE, TWO POINTS APART, CAN YOU GUYS FUNCTION TOGETHER AS TEAMMATES, WITH THE SAME SHARING THAT YOU USED DURING THE REGULAR SEASON?
“Yeah, for sure. I think that’s a big strength for Hendrick Motorsports, just in how well everybody shares everything. Whether it’s rough situations or times where you get racing teammates really hard, I feel like we’re still all able to sit down and do a really good job sharing and helping each other. Sometimes you can give little tips away that you might want to keep to yourself, but at the same time, when the whole company is running better, it’s better for everybody involved. I think we do a really good job of that and always have, whether it’s William or Chase (Elliott) or Jimmie (Johnson) or a combination of them. So, I think obviously we’re racing each other for that last spot, but hopefully we can both get in and not have to worry about it.”
FOLLOWING UP ON THE ISSUE WITH AUSTIN DILLON, YOU SAID YOU KNEW THE AGGRAVATION AND FRUSTRATION WAS THERE. BUT DOES IT BOTHER YOU MORE THAT THE DIRECTIONS CAME DIRECTLY FROM RICHARD CHILDRESS TO AUSTIN THAT SAYS ‘GET HIM NOW’?
“I don’t know. That’s just part of it. That’s just part of, I guess, how they operate. RC is obviously a very involved team owner and is on the radio a lot more than our owner and that’s just part of it. So, it doesn’t matter. He’s not holding the steering wheel, so I’m not worried about who gave directions to anybody or anything like that, I’m here to advance to the next round this week and handle it in the future.”
ON THE STAGE POINTS, HOW DOES THAT WORK IN THE CONVERSATION WITH (CREW CHIEF) GREG (IVES)? HOW DO YOU GUYS JUST FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO A BETTER JOB OF MANAGING STRATEGY? ESSENTIALLY, IT’S SORT OF LIKE HIS JOB MORE SO THAN YOURS, RIGHT?
“Yes and no. I feel like a lot of the stage point opportunities come from how you qualify and we’ve been pretty poor at qualifying for a good bit now. So, we need to go qualify really well and I think that just puts you in a position to be able to earn those stage points. Each race is different. You look at the No. 24 (Byron) scored really good stage points in both stages at Sonoma and then finished not so great, but still had a really good points day. So, the stage points are probably more valuable than finishing position, and we just need to do a good job to achieve that.”
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