MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 8, 2019
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at ISM Raceway and discussed racing at his home track, what his relationship with sponsor Nationwide is like, lapped cars and many other topics. Highlights from media scrum session:
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DO HERE WHEN YOU COME TO ARIZONA?
“Win the Cup race here. That is the only thing I really care about when I come to Arizona, honestly. I get dinner with friends and dinner with family or whatever, try to hit some good Mexican spots, but all I’m really focused on is coming here and winning the Cup race.”
DO YOU EXPECT TO BE OUT FRONT A LOT?
“I hope so. That is the plan. We were a little off today. We are not terrible, but we are not the best car yet. Greg (Ives, crew chief) is working on it and hopefully we will be really good.”
HOW HAVE THE FIRST FOUR RACES CHANGED THE WAY YOU OPERATE THE FIRST PART OF THE SEASON?
“Yeah, it’s definitely different. Daytona was business as usual and then you go to Atlanta and have the new package without the drag ducts and then you go to Vegas and you have the drag ducts and now, we have the short track package. It’s different. I think the short track stuff is going to race a lot like it used to, we are just going to be going faster. The cars might be a little more ill-handling behind another guy than they used to be just because they are probably going to be a little more aero dependent than they were. It’s just different.”
ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH NATIONWIDE:
“Yeah, I think everything with Nationwide has been awesome. Had so much fun doing the deal with them. Between doing the Children’s Hospital, doing the pet insurance stuff with them, so many different aspects of that relationship has been really cool. They have been there for me through some tough times. My dog Finn had a health scare this winter and used the heck out of some pet insurance. It’s always good to have the on your side.”
EXPECTATIONS FOR AUTO CLUB:
“I think all the California races are pretty wild on restarts and stuff. The grip is so low there I feel like it will be somewhat like Atlanta where we got pretty spread out and it was a pretty normal race, but I could be totally wrong about that. We all thought we were going to pack race last weekend and there were going to be all these big crashes and we were going to tear up so much stuff and there wasn’t a single caution. It’s so hard. We think we have an idea of what is going to happen. We think we have an idea of how we need to approach things, but we don’t really know.”
IS IT AT ALL POSSIBLE TO TAKE SOMETHING FROM DRIVING AT THE CHILI BOWL AND RELATE IT TO A 1-MILE TRACK?
“I think just staying in the seat is always a good thing and racing different things and diversifying yourself as a race car driver helps. I would like to do that more. I would like to race the Kyle Larson schedule and run a winged sprint car a bunch and run a midget a bunch. I’m trying. I wish I could. If it was up to me, I would be. I don’t know. Maybe that will happen someday, but I think diversifying yourself as a race car driver is a really good thing.”
ON HIS EXPECTATIONS FOR LAPPED CARS:
“Yeah, that is an interesting question. I have been that lap car a ton. More than I haven’t been in my career, right? The first few years of my career was just doing that trying to stay out of the way and it’s way harder than racing at the front. The race back there is so hard because you are trying to balance staying out of the way, as well as making good time while you are getting lapped and it gets stressful. I was way more stressed out doing that stuff than I am today. That is hard. There are definitely some guys in Cup cars that don’t have a lot of experience these days and that is just kind of the way the sport is shaking out.
“Really all you can ask is for a guy to do the same thing every time so you at least know what to expect when you get there and do the same thing for everybody. Got run into the fence last week by a lap car and cut a right-rear late, or not run into the fence, I just drove it in the corner behind him on the top thinking he was going to give me the top and he didn’t. But you know that is hard racing. Everybody has to deal with it. Their job is honestly, technically, probably harder than our job. The race car is driving worse, so those guys… I don’t really think they get enough credit and they get talked crap about and kind of put down sometimes in situations that it’s really not completely their fault. Sometimes if you mess up, you mess up, but those race cars are a pain to drive.”
DO YOU EXPECT A DIFFERENT LEVEL OF RESPECT WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING A HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS CAR?
“I don’t know. That is a tough one. I ran down some lap cars last week thinking that maybe they would give me the top and trying to talk to their spotters and they wouldn’t. That is just part of the sport. Everybody has got their own race going. Everybody sets their own goals, so if your goal is 25th or whatever and you are running 25th and you give up a bunch of time while you are getting lapped it’s going to hurt your day as well. We are all selfish race car drivers and that is just the way it is.”
DO YOU FEEL THE PRESSURE TO WIN SOON?
“Yeah, I feel like I need to win every week that is why I get paid to be here. Last year there were positives making the Playoffs and everything, but that is not how we expect to run and I’m not okay with it. I had meetings this year where they were like ‘man you need to be happier with last year and you need to be happier with how things are going.’ I’m not going to be happy until we are winning races.”
“Yeah absolutely. I’m not comfortable in my role, I’m always trying to be better and always trying to better myself. We have been close to winning, but that doesn’t count.”
WHAT HAS THE REACTION OF THE FAN BASE BEEN LIKE NOW THAT YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE NO. 88 FOR MORE THAN A YEAR?
“Yeah, I mean all the No. 88 fans that have stuck around from when Dale was running that is really cool. Obviously, I wouldn’t be here without Dale’s help and support. That is really neat. We want to give them something to cheer for and in my eyes, I don’t want to be known as just being popular… I mean I keep to myself, I don’t have this super outgoing personality that is going to make me popular in my eyes it’s going to be from winning races and that is what I’m here to do and what I want to do. Just got to give those fans something to cheer for.”