MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 18, 2019
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1, met with media to discuss dealing with the pressure of a cutoff race, what he can bring from the spring race at Kansas, the strength of his team’s 1.5-mile program, and more. Full Transcript:
THE OBVIOUS QUESTION: YOU’RE ON THAT SPOT FOR THE CUTOFF; HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT PRESSURE FOR THIS RACE? WHAT CAN YOU BRING FROM YOUR GOOD RACE HERE IN THE SPRING?
“I think we can’t approach it any differently than we have every week leading up to this. I feel like when you try to step your game up or change what you’re doing, you end up making mistakes and not executing well. We’re kind of business as usual. Obviously, our 1.5-mile program is our strongest program. We were really strong here in the spring. I feel like we’ve only gotten stronger since then. We have a great race car here and we just have to go execute. Obviously, it’s not an optimal point situation. But all we can do is all we can do. We’re pretty much in a must-win situation. That’s tough, but if we don’t make it, the sun is still going to come up on Monday. If we have a good day and still don’t make it, we were a Talladega away from making it. That’s just part of the sport.”
YOU FINISHED SECOND TO BRAD (KESELOWSKI) HERE IN MAY. HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU REPLAYED THOSE LAST 20 LAPS? IF YOU DID IT AGAIN, WOULD YOU WIN 10 TIMES OUT OF 10?
“I’ve definitely thought about it a lot. Really, until we won Chicago, I probably thought about it a lot more than I have thought about it since then. It was a tough situation. Obviously, he was on newer tires than us. You’re running wide open there at that point and I just tried to take the shortest distance. I ended up getting in a bad aero situation behind a lap car, got tight and had to lift. I probably should have just moved up the race track and just controlled the air on the bottom if I had to if he got there. That was going to be a tough race to win regardless. But it’s just part of it. I think in long runs, we were great and maybe that’s what we’ll see on Sunday.”
AFTER THAT RACE, YOU WERE REALLY AT EASE DURING THE POST-RACE OF THAT REALIZING YOU GAVE THAT RACE AWAY. THE FOLLOWING DAYS, DID THE FRUSTRATION BUILDING REALIZING HOW CLOSE YOU WERE?
“Yeah, I mean I was definitely frustrated. But, at the same time, at that point of the year we had zero top-10’s three weeks before that and we went out and finished second three weeks in a row. Obviously, there were a lot of positives going on. I feel like we had really started to turn our program around and it has definitely shown since then. But it was definitely frustrating to not get that win.”
YOU WON YOUR FIRST CAREER CUP RACE OVER THE SUMMER BACK IN CHICAGO. OBVIOUSLY, CHICAGO IS A TRACK THAT’S VERY SIMILAR TO KANSAS. ALSO, IN THE LAST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS, YOU WERE IN A SITUATION WHERE YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAD TO PERFORM AND YOU CAME THROUGH WITH THE SECOND PLACE FINISH AT THE ROVAL. YOU FIND YOURSELF IN THE SAME SITUATION HERE, WHERE A GREAT FINISH IS CRUCIAL AT KANSAS. HOW CONFIDENT ARE YOU IN YOUR TEAM THAT THE MOMENTUM THAT YOU HAD WITH THE SECOND PLACE BACK HERE IN THE SPRING CAN CARRYOVER TO THIS RACE?
“I think if you had to pick a track for us to run well at and it wasn’t Chicago, it would probably be here. I feel like we’re really confident coming into here. But, at the same time, it’s just tough. We’re in a bigger hole than we were going into the ROVAL by quite a bit. We’re there against last year’s champion; he’s the next guy in front of us. It’s going to be tough. To make it without a win, would take a lot to happen I feel like. So, we’re just focused on going out and hopefully getting a win.”
YOU MENTIONED EARLIER HOW WELL YOU RACED HERE BACK IN THE SPRING. ARE YOU SEEING YOUR 1.5-MILE PROGRAM AS THE STRENGTH OF YOUR ABILITIES AND YOUR TEAM RIGHT NOW?
“Yeah, I think that’s where we’ve been the strongest throughout the year. The first couple of races, we weren’t that great. But, when we got here and then went to Charlotte, we’ve been strong at a lot of the 1.5-mile tracks. That’s definitely our strengths right now. Next week is probably our weakness with the short track. We definitely are at the time where we need to go capitalize on that.”
YOU JUST SAID THAT NEXT WEEK AT A SHORT TRACK, YOU DON’T FEEL AS STRONG. WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO IMPROVE ON GOING TO MARTINSVILLE, WHICH ALWAYS SEEMS LIKE IT’S A LITTLE BIT MORE AGGRESSIVE IN THE FALL?
“Obviously, I feel like if we knew exactly what area to improve on our short track cars, we would have been much better at Richmond a couple of weeks ago. We just have some work to do on our short track cars. We’ve been pretty poor all year, as a company and not just our team. We went to Richmond trying to get a car that turned the center all night and it was probably the best turning car there. But it had zero forward drive, it just kind of jumped the fence and didn’t have very good balance. Just having the overall balance in the car and having the best compromise between turn and drive at a place like Richmond or Martinsville is really important.”
LAST TIME AT KANSAS, IT WAS A NIGHT RACE AND A LITTLE COOLER. SUNDAY, IT’S GOING TO BE A DAY RACE AND MAYBE A LITTLE BIT WARMER THAN IT WAS LAST TIME. DOES THAT AT ALL CHANGE THE WAY YOU GUYS SET THINGS UP FOR SUNDAY OR IS IT PRETTY SIMILAR?
“I think it probably fits us a little better than the night race did. I feel like the night race, we were really strong on long runs and we were OK on short runs. But, once handling came into play and the tires started to wear out a little more, that’s when we really seemed to shine. I think handling will probably come into play a little bit more on Sunday and, hopefully, that’s a big benefit for us.”
YOU SHARED A LOT ABOUT GETTING OVER KANSAS LAST TIME. LAST WEEK AT TALLADEGA, HOW WAS THIS WEEK GETTING PAST TALLADEGA, KNOWING THAT’S SUCH A DIFFERENT TYPE OF RACING. HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO PUT THAT AWAY THIS WEEK AND MOVE ON?
“The sun still came up on Monday. Pretty much everything that could have gone bad for us went bad for us. That guy in the back of the room (Ryan Blaney) decided to go win and make my life really tough. We obviously had a better shot at it before that happened, but congrats to them. We executed well the first stage and just made a mistake there. Sometimes that block works, other times the block doesn’t work. That was one of the times it didn’t work. I just really stayed focused on this weekend. You can’t really dwell on that stuff, especially about superspeedway racing, because it just is what it is.”
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