NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PURE MICHIGAN 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 26, 2016
ALEX BOWMAN, INTERIM DRIVER, NO. 88 AXALTA/UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media and discussed representing Axalta and the University of Michigan, what he would be doing if he was not in the No. 88 Chevrolet SS, the feel in the car so far and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT IS IT LIKE REPRESENTING THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN THIS WEEKEND?
“It’s been really cool. Obviously, it’s not under the circumstances that I would like to be here, but just really thankful for the opportunity and really cool to have Axalta and the University of Michigan on board. I’m going to go to dinner with some of the student’s tomorrow night. It’s cool to have Axalta partner with the business and engineering program over there and get to meet a bunch of really smart kids.”
WHAT HAS IT BEEN LIKE THE LAST MONTH NOT KNOWING WHEN OR IF YOU WOULD BE BACK IN THE CAR?
“Honestly, for me being as close of friends as I am with Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) I have just been hoping he gets to feeling better more than anything. Obviously, I’m more than happy to fill-in whenever I can. New Hampshire was a lot of fun. Obviously, we ran a lot better than we finished. I hated that the race team didn’t get the finish they deserved. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Chevy and everybody they have been so welcoming and easy to work with. It’s just been fun. Off the truck today we were really fast and didn’t really get the qualifying run speed that we really wanted, but I feel like we have a good shot at it this weekend. It’s just so much fun to be able to come to a Cup race and be able to say that. I’m just really enjoying it and trying to make the most out of it.”
IS IT DIFFICULT TO FIND YOUR OWN SET-UP AGAIN NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN OUT OF THE CAR OR ARE YOU AND JEFF (GORDON) SHARING THE SAME SET-UP? HOW DIFFICULT IS THE NEW LOWER DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?
“As far as car set-up’s go this is the same car that Jeff (Gordon) ran at Pocono. Other than that everything is different at most of the different race tracks we go to. Inside the race car I just run like seat wise and everything, I run what Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) runs. They don’t have to change the seat, the inserts, pedals, anything. I just run what Dale does and try to make it easy on the team that way. As far as the downforce package goes only running one other Cup race this year I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m used to it the other way, so it’s not like a big difference to me. It’s just being back in a Cup car and really was less different than I thought it would be. The cars still make a lot of grip. Obviously, it’s not what they were last year and two years ago, but they are still really drivable and NASCAR has done a great job at trying to get the racing better. I definitely applaud them on that to be able to take that much spoiler away and still be able to drive these things is pretty cool. I’m just having a lot of fun with it.”
ON TWITTER YOU SAID YOU HAVE TO TAKE A HALF-DAY OFF FROM WORK. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT YOUR JOB IS DURING THE WEEK? DID YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR BOSS ABOUT TAKING PART OF THE DAY OFF? HOW DID THAT GO?
“Well, I can’t one hundred percent talk about it, I guess. I work for the simulation department at Hendrick and with Pratt & Miller and Chevrolet. They’re pretty flexible when you tell them that you’ve got to drive the No. 88 car and that you need to leave a couple of hours early to get to the airport. That’s where I was the first time that Greg Ives called me, and I didn’t have my phone with me while I was at work and I didn’t even answer before Loudon and had to leave there to get to the airport. So, yeah, typically I’m in there Tuesdays and Thursdays so I had to take the second-half of Thursday off. But it’s been cool. And it kind of keeps me relevant at HMS and I get to learn a lot and still be part of a race team even though I’m not driving every week. So, it’s been really cool and I’m just as thankful for that opportunity as I am for this. I may not be driving but it’s still a cool deal to be a part of Hendrick.”
ON THE PAINT SCHEME AND THE MICHIGAN CONNECTION AND WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF BEING FROM MICHIGAN, HAVE YOU GOTTEN ANY COMPLIMENTS ON THE BLUE AND MAIZE COLORS? AND HAVE YOU RUN INTO ANY MICHIGAN STATE FANS YET?
“I’ve run into some Ohio State fans; namely being some of my best friends. But, it’s been really cool. I’m really looking forward to getting to go. I haven’t really met anybody from Axalta yet, or anybody from Michigan. So, I get to do a lot of that tomorrow and am looking forward to meeting those guys and spending some time tomorrow night with the kids, and I have a meet and greet on Sunday morning as well. So, it’s just cool to be able to represent something like that and those kids, probably some of them are older than me, by that time, but it’ll be cool to get to meet all of them and cool to represent here in the home state for the school.”
WHAT CONVERSATIONS HAVE YOU HAD WITH DALE EARNHARDT JR. AND JEFF GORDON ABOUT THE CAR? ARE YOU EXPECTING TO BE IN THE CAR MORE AS THE SEASON PROGRESSES? WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD FROM THEM?
“Well, I haven’t talked to Jeff at all yet. I’m sure I’ll talk to him quite a bit on Sunday when he gets here to the race track. As far as Dale, it’s really just been him and I went back and forth this morning on the rules package and what to expect and just what he thought the race car was going to do and whatnot. As far as going forward, we haven’t discussed that at all. Obviously I’m happy to fill in when needed. Jeff is going to be in the car in Darlington. Hopefully, we’ll just have to see Dale’s timeline, but I’m definitely happy to get in the car whenever needed.”
ARE YOU AN OHIO STATE FAN? ARE YOU A MICHIGAN FAN? ARE YOU A COLLECT FOOTBALL FAN AND IF SO, OF WHAT TEAM?
“I’m a University of Michigan fan. Yeah. I don’t know, my whole life I’ve raced so much that I haven’t really been able to be a big fan of anything. This year has been a big change in that. Obviously, with football starting up here next week, I’m going to start off as a University of Michigan fan and go from there.”