MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CLASH
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 17, 2017
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHEVROLET SS, met with members at Daytona International Speedway and discussed driving the No. 88 Chevy in the Clash, his future plans and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR 10 STARTS IN THE NO. 88 CHEVROLET LAST SEASON?
“Honestly, it was kind of just gaining a lot of confidence back. I spent a lot of years driving different equipment and you always feel like you can get the job done as a race car driver, but sometimes you kind of get down on yourself. Definitely felt like last year I proved to myself and everybody else that I deserve a shot to be here. At the same time, I learned a lot from all my teammates at Hendrick Motorsports and getting to lean on all those guys was so much fun. It still is fun. I’m glad to continue to be a part of the team. To get to lean on a seven-time champion in Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, Chase Elliott, Dale (Earnhardt), Jr., Kasey Kahne, there are so many smart people. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a learning experience and just trying to make the most of every opportunity that I get.”
PART OF THE REASON YOU GOT TO DRIVE THE NO. 88 IS DUE TO CONCUSSIONS. NASCAR ANNOUNCED TODAY A NEW PROTOCOL. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PROCEDURES?
“Yeah, I think it’s great. NASCAR does a lot for the sport to protect the drivers. I think anything that we can do to further that is great. Obviously, that is an area that has been talked a lot about in the past couple of months. I think it’s an area that everybody is still learning about and I think the more stuff we can bring in to help with that the better.
THIS IS BASICALLY THE ONLY RACE YOU HAVE ANNOUNCED FOR THIS SEASON. BECAUSE OF THAT ARE YOU PUTTING MORE PRESSURE ON YOURSELF?
“I mean it’s just another race, especially being a speedway race there is no one thing I can do to do better or worse really. I feel like it’s so easy to get caught up in somebody else’s mess here. Hopefully, we stay up front. I think we are starting eighth, hopefully we get up front, stay up front and win the race. It’s another race. It’s another opportunity to have a lot of fun with Hendrick Motorsports. That is something I kind of tried to do all last season was just to have fun and that is what we are going to try to do on Saturday night and hopefully bring home a trophy.”
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO AFTER TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I don’t know. We’ve been talking about that quite a bit. Throughout the week, I drive the simulator about three days a week, I’m pretty busy with that. Anytime the Chevrolet Wheel Force car runs I’m driving that. Like Monday and Tuesday I will be in (Las) Vegas running that. I will kind of be all over the place. I do have a couple of races, not in the Cup Series, but in some other stuff coming up. Excited about that I can’t really talk a whole lot about it, but I will be racing some stuff. Really, I will be hanging out at the shop and coming to the race track when I can just trying to be a sponge and learn as much as I can.”
HAVE THEY TOLD YOU IF THEY NEED A RELIEF DRIVER AGAIN FOR ANY REASON THAT YOU WOULD STILL BE NUMBER ONE ON THE ON DECK CIRCLE?
“I think so. That is something that we haven’t really talked about. Obviously, you never hope that situation comes up, but I think after last year as easy as it is for me as far as already being here with Hendrick Motorsports, I think if something did come up that I would think I would be the one that would get called for it.”
DID YOU EXPECT TO COME TO DAYTONA WITH A RIDE, OR AT LEAST MORE OF THE SAME AFTER SUCCESS LAST YEAR?
“Yes and no. I was kind of surprised that a winning Xfinity car or something like that didn’t open up. At the same time, I had quite a few full-time Cup opportunities that were offered. But, there was just really wasn’t anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports. I feel like I want to be part of a winning organization whether I am driving; just working for the team; doing testing or doing the simulation stuff. Whatever I’m doing, I want to be part of a winning team. Nothing was going to drag me away from here. So yes and no. I would have liked to be in a winning Xfinity car when I can be, but at the same time, there weren’t a lot of Cup rides open. It is kind of a hard year to have that happen.”
WHAT WERE THE CONVERSATIONS THAT LED TO YOU BEING IN THE NO. 88 FOR THE CLASH? “We joked about it a lot. But, it never even crossed my mind that I would be driving the No. 88. We had joked around about…Greg Ives was talking about Greg Ives Racing brining a car, or something crazy like that. I just kind of let it go quiet. I didn’t want step on any toes, or ask anybody and have it seem like I was begging for something. I wasn’t really asking. I guess it was the Darlington test, we were all sitting around, and Mr. (Doug) Duchardt said I was going to drive the 88 in the Clash. I said okay, cool. So, I am very thankful for the opportunity. Dale’s been so great to me. I wouldn’t be here without him. He is the one that pointed me out when he wasn’t feeling good. I feel like I owe a lot to him, and I am very thankful for him to put me in the car for this race.”
WAS THERE EVER ANY CONSIDERATION GIVEN TO DALE RUNNING ANOTHER CAR IN THE CLASH?
“I don’t know. Honestly, I wasn’t in any of those conversations about it. Like I said about the Greg Ives thing, that was just joking up in the hauler. There really weren’t any conversations that I was a part of. I think…I don’t know what to tell you. I was just sitting at Darlington when they told me I was going to drive it. I don’t really know.”
DOES IT MAKE YOU NERVOUS DALE WILL BE IN TV BOOTH WHILE YOU ARE RACING TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I would say here and Talladega, more than anywhere else, that adds a lot of pressure. He is such a good superspeedway racer. I feel like I do a good job, but I don’t have the experience he has by any means. So just trying to do my best and really lean on him for advice when I can. T.J. (Majors) is so good at spotting these races, and these race cars that Hendrick Motorsports brings to these races are so good, I feel like we can be up front all night. But it definitely adds some pressure to have probably the best speedway racer of our time in the booth calling the race.”
HAS DALE GIVEN YOU TIPS OR TRICKS ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD BE DOING IN THESE SPEEDWAY RACES?
“Yes, for sure. I would tell you, but then I would have to kill you. Dale has been great to lean on. Not only Dale, but all of my teammates are really good at these races. Getting to lean on everybody has been really helpful. At Talladega, we were up front until the end and got in a wreck. There is not really one thing that I can say that is huge. It is just how he approaches the races overall, and how he puts the races together at these places. I can kind of take some of that and recreate it, and hopefully stay up front on Saturday.