Ford Performance NASCAR: Texas 1 (Clint Bowyer Media Availability)

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Media Availability (Texas Motor Speedway)

Friday, April 6, 2018

 

Clint Bowyer, the most recent race winner in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series, visited the media center at Texas Motor Speedway after posting the second fastest time in the opening practice session of the weekend.

 

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion — HOW WAS YOUR OFF-WEEKEND AFTER THAT BIG WIN AT MARTINSVILLE? “Man, everybody knows everything that comes with a win. We have seen it in this sport over the years. The momentum, the confidence, a shot in the arm. It is exactly what our team needed. We unloaded off the truck here and went right back to the top of the board. That is pretty cool. All four of our Stewart-Haas cars are fast again here at a totally different race track. It is crazy how you can get your cars with a good balance on them and really roll them through the corners good and for whatever reason in today’s day in age it doesn’t matter if it is at Texas Motor Speedway running 200 mph or last week at Martinsville. It seems if they are fast at one track they are going to be fast at the next. It is real fun to be in a Ford right now. We had a ton of fun celebrating that win. It was a long time overdue and it felt good to do that with our guys and partners and everyone involved with that win. It was special for me. I enjoyed that. Got down here to Texas and I have come to really embrace this place and love it, both the area – it is amazing how much this area has grown, probably more than any place we go go. Look across the street and how fast that has grown. We went to the Cowboys practice facility, the Star, and I was completely blown away. Ford took all the Ford drivers last night and we got a play a flag football game between the Ford drivers on their practice field. We all realized we are not football players. I dropped a ball that was the most easy touchdown in the world. I ran for the exit. I couldn’t imagine being a football player and dropping that pass in front of 70 or 100,000 people. We went to Peterbilt factory with Rush Trucks yesterday over in Denton, Texas yesterday. Got to drive a brand new Peterbilt off the factory line right there. It has been a fun couple of days already. I am looking forward to qualifying hopefully tonight and obviously another good race.”

 

WAS THERE A POINT LAST YEAR WHERE YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE THIS GOOD THIS YEAR AS AN ORGANIZATION? “Well, we went through that offseason of a lot of change with the way we tech these bodies and the new room of doom. Who know what kind of role that was going to play within our sport. It has been good. You had another manufacturer get another body in the offseason. I was a little nerved up about that knowing that the Fords would be the last ones to that. It has been go-cat-go. We have focused on everything we can control and worked hard in the offseason. Everybody has. Aero, chassis, we made gains in every area and that is what you have to do at this level of competition we compete against week in and week out. You have to make gains almost weekly. Doug and everybody over at Yates with that horsepower, those babies are screaming under the hood. It is a lot of fun to be in this equipment right now.”

YOU JUMPED ON YOUR HOOD AFTER THE WIN AT MARTINSVILLE. WERE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT INSPECTION AT ALL? “No. You’re completely out of your mind. I saw Kyle Larson and he’s he’s about a size of a horse jockey. I was thinking my old butt can get up there and my roof (inaudible) in. I guess I’m gonna have to cut my body in half to slim down a bit more if I’m going to be doing that. Hell no. That place is so special. When you get out of the car those fans are right there. Literally, you’re like, ‘Hey, man that was pretty cool.’ You don’t even have to yell at them they’re so close. Like I said, it was a long time since I won. Just felt fun. I am embraced it and took it all in and had fun with it. I wasn’t worried about that.”

 

CLINT BOWYER CONTINUED … YOU WON AT THE SHORT TRACK AT MARTINSVILLE. WHAT’S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE ABOUT BRISTOL? “Same things. Rolling through that corner and not abusing your stuff. Having a good neutral balance where you can do that and no lean on the wheel too hard. No bee too hard on the gas pedal and burn the rear tires off. Just the whole package. A whole different gremlin. Martinsville is like an old Sunday afternoon cruise. You go to Bristol and there’s not room to breathe. You have to be on your game. Technically, high on my radar. Coming off a short track win you can’t help but to look forward to Bristol. Another place that is so special to all of us because you know how difficult it is to win there. Yeah, hopefully we can make it three in a row just like my teammate.”

 

HOW WERE THE GROOVES TODAY IN PRACTICE. COULD YOU TELL THAT RUN THE TIRE RUBBER ON THE TRACK? “I appreciate the effort, yes. Hopefully that will help when the race happens. From the first lap you’re hunting for that bottom and getting to that white line. These repaves, they’re all that way. We try to do everything we can do to make sure that there’s enough rubber burnt into the track to where that outside line is runnable and passable and when we need it on Sunday. But for right now, qualifying, no, I didn’t notice a whole lot because I didn’t really focus on running up there.”

 

HARVICK WAS TALKING EARLIER AND SAID THE HE FELT SHR WAS THE MOST STABLE TEAM IN NASCAR. DID YOU NOTICE THAT WHEN YOU CAME TO SHR? HAVE YOU NOTICED IT MORE SINCE YOU’VE COME TO SHR? “I think they’re probably more stable then when I walked in the door last year. I thought that last year. You just don’t have turnover. When you really think about that and look at the employees, they’re employees that wanted to go over there when it was established with Tony and they’re still there today. That speaks volumes of the ownership, leadership, management, all the way down to the drivers, partners on those cars. It really just feels like family. It’s pretty at ease. It’s easy to be an employee there. You want to be an employee there. When you got to the shop you enjoy the conversation. For me, it feels like over half of the employees are dirt racers. They either have a kid racing modified or helping someone with a Late Model. They’re racers. Even the engineers. A Lot of the places I’ve been in, you talk to an engineer and they don’t know what the hell you’re talking about when you’re talking about a late dirt model. You talk about some equation and they might be interested. Even there, the engineers are like, ‘what are you running on the left rear? What are you running on the right front’. It’s a bunch of racers all the way through from the engineering department to the engine shop to the engine shop. They’re racers.”

IS THAT CREDIT TO TONY? “It’s a credit to him. Everybody had the confidence in a champion going over there. He took a big step going over there and forming his half of Stewart-Haas. It’s a big credit. You can’t leave out the boss, Gene Haas. Everybody knows that he steps up whenever needed. The conversation with Gene is, ‘When are you going to win? How are going to win? What do you need to win more?’ It’s never anything about anything other than that. He’s so competitive. You see it in his business practice. You see it in F1. It’s so cool to see those cars make some noise over there. That’s on a global scale. The guy is doing it over there just like he does it in our world.”

CLINT BOWYER CONTINUED — GOING BACK TO FOOTBALL DEAL AT THE STAR. WHO WAS THE QB WHEN YOU DROPPED THE BALL? “Well, Stenhouse was over at my Jayhawks doing a promo leading up to the Kansas Speedway race and they gave him some receiver gloves. Let me tell you something, they ought ban them things. That’s ridiculous. It made a football player out of him. Whether he was the QB or receiver or anything else, he just had to hold his hand up and the ball just basically stayed there. He was clearly cheating. Leave it up to a bunch of racers to cheat-up a football game. We may or may not have been hiding our flags, tying them up. I got blocked my McDowell. It felt like a linebacker. Like I said, it should have felt like a horse jockey hitting you or something. This was a full-on linebacker that hit me. Knocked the hell out of me. We shared a laugh. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been with all the manufacturers and it’s something that really stood out with the Ford families. They try to keep it to family. Keep it fun. We appreciated the gesture going over there to such an awesome venue. We were in the war room. We ate dinner in their conference war room where they’re going to be doing the draft. It almost felt like we were overstepping our bounds. The head coach, what a cool thing that was. Eight o’clock last he comes walking in the door introducing himself. He was in watching game film getting ready for the draft. It’s fun to learn other people’s worlds and the dedication it takes to have success. They certainly have that going on over there. I still like my Chiefs.”

 

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