CHEVY NCS AT PHOENIX 1: Alex Bowman Press Conference Transcript

NASCAR CUP SERIES
PHOENIX RACEWAY
FANSHIELD 500
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 6, 2020

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 AXALTA CAMARO ZL1 1LE, met with media to discuss the momentum coming off of his win at Fontana, racing at his home track, the value of using the simulator, and more. Full Transcript:

IS THERE ANYTHING YOU MISS ABOUT LIVING IN ARIZONA THAT YOU AREN’T QUITE ABLE TO DO WHEN YOU COME HERE FROM WHEN YOU GREW UP?
“We’re only here for a short period of time, so I can’t hit every Mexican food place that I could possibly want to. That’s probably the biggest thing I miss because North Carolina just doesn’t get it done in the Mexican food department. I’ve been out here all week, so I’ve had my fair share of that. To be honest with you, other than that, I moved away when I was pretty young. I traveled so much with racing. I didn’t get to be 18 or 21 and kind of run around Tucson and Phoenix. By that point, I was already in North Carolina. For me, it’s really typically a balance of the food places that I like and just trying to spend time with family and friends out here.”

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ANY MORE THOUGHT TO THIS TATTOO? IF SO, YOU WERE KIND OF AGAINST GETTING IT ON YOUR NECK. WHERE ELSE WOULD YOU PUT IT? SOMETHING LIKE AUSTIN DILLON DID?
“I’m not doing that (laughs). I don’t know where I’m going to do it. Maybe I should get ‘I’m not William Byron’ on my forehead (laughs). It’s funny because we get mixed up all the time with fans, especially on Axalta weekends. I don’t know; I’m going to get something. Most of the guys that I had that bet with have already gotten their tattoo, so there were a bunch of 88 tattoos that happened this weekend. But I don’t really know, I have to think about it. I’ll do something cool. I don’t necessarily want to get an 88. I want to get something different and something that I really like. So, we’ll just wait and see. It’s going to happen. I was just a little pre-occupied this week, so I didn’t have much time to think about it.”

HAS THE VICTORY DONE ANYTHING TO EXPEDITE CONTRACT TALK FOR 2021?
“I don’t know. I didn’t go home this week. I celebrated with the team all week, so it’s a little early to say. I hope so. Hopefully, we’ll get on that soon and not have to worry about it anymore.”

YOU HAD A GREAT WEEKEND LAST WEEK; WON BOTH PRACTICES, QUALIFIED REALLY WELL, HAD THE DOMINATE CAR IN THE RACE. EVERY RACE CAR DRIVERS DREAMS OF THAT. WHAT IS THAT LIKE TO BE IN THAT MOMOENT AND WHAT IS IT LIKE TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO IT AGAIN HERE OR DOWN THE ROAD?
“I feel like I’ve had two of those cars in my career; Fontana being one and here in 2016 being the other. Those are the weekends that your job as a race car driver is typically pretty easy. The feedback is pretty minor, what the race car is doing and what we need to address and work on, and you don’t have to throw a bunch of stuff at the car and really get it dialed in. It typically starts that way, so those weekends are definitely easier than the hard ones. But at the same time, you could take that exact same thing back there next year and it not work. It’s crazy how that works. I think we’ve tried the 2016 setup here about three times since then and have never made it work. It’s definitely a fun weekend to be a part of. I think my crew deserves a lot of the credit for that one because we pretty much raced it how it came off the truck.”

SPEAKING OF THAT 2016 RACE, DO YOU STILL CONSIDER THAT THE PIVOTAL POINT IN YOUR CAREER?
“It was definitely a big part of it. There were some other races that we ran really strong at the end of that year, but none as strong as that. I feel like that definitely opened the door and was a big help. It’s also a race that I thought about every single day for the next two years of my life until we won Chicago. I still think about it a ton, but probably not as much as I did before we won. I think it was a big part of it, for sure.”

YOU SAY YOU’VE THOUGHT ABOUT THAT 2016 RACE UNTIL YOU WON AT CHICAGOLAND. WHY HAS IT DISSIPATED SINCE CHICAGOLAND?
“I think it’s really easy to sit there and be like ‘man, what if I never win a Cup race’. Then, you look back at the closest you’ve been and for me, that’s always been the closest I’ve been. Now, it’s like ‘man, what if you never win at Phoenix’ and think back to the closest you’ve been here. There’s always a way to second-guess yourself and to think about it. I probably want to win here more than anywhere else we go, just being from close by. I think that’s something that’s always been on my mind. I think winning helped relieve that a little bit, but it’s still there for sure.”

RYAN NEWMAN IS IN THE GARAGE. TO THINK ABOUT WHERE THINGS WERE A COUPLE WEEKS AGO THAT HE’S ACTUALLY AT THE TRACK, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS AS A COMPETITOR?
“I’ve been all over the place this morning, so I haven’t had a chance to stop by and see him. But that’s amazing. When we left Daytona, the way we thought things were and how quickly things progressed in the next couple of days in a positive light, you almost look at it like a miracle that he was able to survive a hit like that. A very worst-case scenario hit in a lot of ways and I think it’s a big testament to NASCAR and all the work that they do. Also, Ryan (Newman) being one of the toughest guys in the garage. It’s amazing to see that and I’m really happy to hear that he’s here. I didn’t know he was here until you said that, so I’ll have to go see him for sure. But that’s really cool and I’m just really happy that he is here.”

WITH ALL YOUR SIMULATOR WORK YOU’VE DONE IN THE PAST, YOU HEAR MORE AND MORE GUYS GOING BACK TO THE SIMULATOR THE DAY AFTER THE RACE TO RE-CONFIRM THINGS. WHAT’S THE VALUE IN THAT AND IS THAT SOMETHING THAT YOU’LL DO WHEN YOU GET BACK?
“Yeah, that was my job in 2016 and 2017 really was to do the pre- and post-race stuff. I think the thing that’s the most important about that is to correlate your post-race stuff so the sim is more useful for future stuff. It’s not so much we’re going to go back to the sim on Monday and see what we should have done differently. It’s we’re going to go back to the sim on Monday and dial the sim in so it’s more useful for the Fall race. That’s a big thing and that was 100 percent of my job for two years. They have to twist my arm here lately to get into the simulator, but we’ve been a couple of times this year. It’s all about how you use it and how close you get it. You can dial yourself out of it 100 percent as easy as you can dial yourself in with it. But if you use it the correct way, it’s a very useful tool.”

INAUDIBLE
“I don’t even know. William (Byron) is in there a ton. I’m in there a little bit. I don’t know, Justin Allgaier does a good bit of it. I think maybe Ryan Preece has been there a good bit. It’s hard to say, I don’t think it’s one person anymore. We talked about continuing that in 2018, but it just wasn’t really doable with my schedule. I was in there three days a week pretty much all day for two years and that’s not really doable with my schedule these days. The blocks are cut, so you aren’t in there for a full day anymore. You’re in there for a chunk of hours instead of an entire day. But it’s still super time consuming. You’re kind of locked into a little black, dark room and locked in a black box for a big chunk of hours. So, it’s not the most fun thing. It’s not like playing NASCAR Heat.”

TALK ABOUT THE SAFETY OF NOT ONLY THE CAR, BUT THE SAFETY OF THE DRIVER’S GEAR AND THE TECHNOLOGY.
“I try to really rely on NASCAR for that. I’m not an engineer and don’t pretend to have the knowledge that those guys have when it comes to that stuff. But I feel like NASCAR does a really good job. You look at that crash and just watching it looks an un-survivable impact. Now, he’s here walking around the race track with us. So, that’s pretty amazing and I think that’s a testament to what they do. As far as making them even safer, I don’t know. I think they will continue to do that. The new car is another step in that direction. I’m just really glad they do as much work in that area that they do for us and, obviously, it’s paying off in a situation like that.”

INAUDIBLE
“I don’t know; I don’t know any details about helmet stuff, as far as if that was a factor. I feel like we all run our different helmets and have our different helmet brands that we like. They all have to meet a baseline certification. I feel like, I could be wrong, but I know there are a couple of different certifications. Open wheel cars have to meet one and we have a different certification because it’s a closed-cockpit car. I feel like every helmet manufacturer, much like NASCAR, is going down a path of making their stuff safer all the time. Safer, lighter, more comfortable, all of it. I’ve been really happy with the helmets I’ve been wearing and I have faith in them to keep getting them safer.”

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