MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 1, 2018
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Pocono Raceway and discussed his season thus far, if JR Nation has embraced him, his thoughts on running the All-Star rules package in the future and many other topics. Full Transcript
YOU’VE HAD A GOOD COUPLE OF WEEK’S COMING OFF A TOP 10 FINISH AT CHARLOTTE. NOW WE ARE KIND OF MIDWAY THROUGH THE REGULAR SEASON, IT’S YOUR FIRST FULL SEASON WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, HOW WOULD YOU ASSESS WHERE YOU ARE AT PERSONALLY AND HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT OUT WITH HOW THE TEAM IS IMPROVING GETTING THEIR ARMS AROUND THE NEW CHEVY CAMARO?
“Yeah, we have had some up’s and down’s. We have been quite a bit off of how we expect and want to be running. Last week was a hard fought ninth place finish but missed out on a lot of stage points. It’s better than a bad finish, but still a little frustrating. We are working really hard. We have a lot of really smart people trying to get all four of our cars better. But, it’s not secret we are off of where we want to be. It’s been a little frustrating, but we are not terrible in the points right now. It’s a dream come true to just be driving for Hendrick Motorsports. I really can’t complain too much.”
THIS IS YOUR FIRST TIME IN A CUP CAR AT POCONO SINCE 2015 ARE THERE ANY NERVES? HOW MUCH ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING ON-TRACK?
“I wouldn’t say there are any nerves. This is one of my favorite places. I’m really excited about it. It’s so unique, all three ends are different, you have to shift, it’s just a fun place as a race car driver. You are not just kind of limited to what your car is doing. It’s a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to it.”
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THE ALL-STAR RULES PACKAGE?
“I have pretty mixed views on it. There is my view as a race car driver and then there is my view as a member of the sport. I think for the fans the racing was great. There is no denying that. It was a great race and the fans are why we are here and why we are allowed to get paid to be a race car driver. From that side of things, I loved it. I think it worked very well. I think the fact that NASCAR is always trying to make the racing better is very good. You could always tweak it and see how it works and see how it works at different race tracks.
“As a race car driver, it’s pretty easy to drive and we are the premier stock car series in the world, so obviously you would like it to be a little more difficult to drive. You don’t want to just go everywhere and be wide open, but I still managed to crash it all by myself, so I can’t really say it was too easy. But, you know I think really you have to look at what is best for the sport and making the race fans happy is what is best for not only me, but everybody in this room. I think it was a great race and something that definitely has to be looked at for the future.”
DID YOU WATCH EITHER MONACO OR INDY?
“Yeah, I watched both. It was really cool. I feel like we had the best race of the day which was good. Monaco was interesting with some of the strategy stuff. Indy was…. I was hoping guys were going to stay out and at least try to stretch it (fuel mileage) instead of pit with four (laps) to go. But, it was three very unique, different races and it was cool to be a race fan for the first two thirds of the day and then go to work that night.”
GIVEN DALE (EARNHARDT) JR.’S SUCCESS HERE HAVE YOU PICKED HIS BRAIN AT ALL ABOUT SOME OF THE KEYS TO GETTING AROUND HERE?
“Yeah, he is a little busy being a Dad right now, so I’m trying to leave him alone. This is probably one of my top three favorite race tracks we go to. I really enjoy it. I think I’ve got great teammates to lean on as well. Obviously, Dale has a lot going on in his life. I try to let him be as much as I can.”
YOU SEEMED TO TAKE A LITTLE BIT OF ISSUE AT THE 600 WITH HOW SOME OF YOUR TEAMMATES WERE RACING YOU. HAVE YOU IRONED SOME OF THAT OUT WITH THEM?
“Yeah, I think it’s easy to get frustrated with things. We are race car drivers and you are locked inside a race car for four and a half hours and every single word you say gets recorded. It is easy to be a little more frustrated than you should be. I think there are definitely some situations where we could all help each other out a little more than we do. I don’t’ know, hopefully it will get better, it’s hard to say, but I think I was probably a little more frustrated than I should have been.”
HOW HAS THE ADJUSTMENT TO HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS BEEN AND WHERE DO YOU THINK YOUR TRAJECTORY TAKES YOU?
“I think we are only going to get better. We definitely started the year off of where we want to be. It’s been so much fun to be a part of Hendrick Motorsports, get to lean on Jimmie Johnson every weekend and just be a part of such a great organization. It’s so much different than anything I’ve ever been a part of before. The day-to-day operation is so much different. Definitely a lot busier, they keep me all over the place. Yesterday, I went to Columbus (Ohio) in the morning, went to Nationwide Children’s Hospital and then went to the Memorial Golf Tournament yesterday afternoon, flew back to Charlotte and then flew here. They keep me as busy as they can, but it’s a dream come true to be working with such great people. Hopefully, we are going to start getting better and contending for some wins and winning some races because that is what they hired me for.”
IN REGARDS TO HAVING A CAR WITH THE FEEL HE IS LOOKING FOR:
“Yeah, I mean I haven’t had one feel like what I want so far this year because we haven’t won yet, but we have definitely gotten better. The balance of the cars has gotten better. The speed, we have been off. I think the No. 48 last weekend was very promising. We weren’t terrible either. We are continuing to improve. I don’t think I’m going to have one that I like until we win, but we are getting closer.”
SO, SOMEBODY CAME ON YOUR RADIO AND TOLD YOU TO ‘SHUT UP’ LAST WEEK, WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU FIRST HEARD THAT? DID IT ACTUALLY COST YOU SPOTS ON THE TRACK?
“No, so I think that was the last run of the day, which was our best run. That was good it didn’t mess with me too much. So, I had that dial up thing that sound came on like three or four times and I was like ‘whatever that is, like we need to knock it out.’ And then like five laps later, all I heard was like static and mumbling, so I didn’t decipher like ‘hey shut up’ from it, so I didn’t really know. Greg (Ives, crew chief) is like well it’s obviously a race fan somewhere so let’s just switch radios. We went to channel two and didn’t have any more issues, but it’s definitely interesting. It’s kind of common for it to happen at Charlotte. It’s happened to Dale quite a few times in the past I guess. So, hopefully, we can try to avoid that this weekend and not have anybody yelling at me over the radio that is not supposed to be yelling at me.
“Um, I guess when they played it on Race Hub was the first time like I was able to actually read it. Their sound was way better than mine was. It was definitely interesting to see that. It’s probably because I told them to shut up first with the dial tone thing so, yeah, it’s unique. We are still kind of in the stone ages with some analog radios and all you’ve got to do is get a frequency and you can talk to us, which we could eliminate that pretty easily, but for some reason we still have analog radios.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE PRESSURE OF TAKING OVER THE NO. 88 FOR DALE, JR. AND HOW YOU’VE HANDLED THAT?
“Yeah, I think honestly there is not a lot of pressure in the fact that it’s Dale’s old car, it’s the No. 88 car. The pressure for me comes from the fact that it’s a Hendrick Motorsports car. Hendrick Motorsports is known for winning races and winning championships and that is what I’m expected to do. I think most of my pressure comes from myself and the fact that I just want to win races and prove that I can do it. For me, there are a lot of No. 88 fans obviously and my job is to give the something to cheer for. I don’t feel like we have done a very good job of that this year. We have had hints of brilliance and hints of being able to run up front, but we haven’t consistently given them something to really cheer for every weekend. We know we need to get better and I think that will come with wins, but there is not a lot of pressure from the Dale side of things it’s just pressure because I want to win.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE FANS HAVE EMBRACED YOU DRIVING THE NO. 88?
“You know I think some have and some haven’t. Everybody is different. I’m super thankful for the JR Nation fans that stuck around with the No. 88 car. I think if we go win some races a lot more of them will cheer, so that is kind of what I’m focused on. I’m not too worried about it either way, just thankful for those that have stuck around and hopefully make new fans every week.”
IS THE FACT THAT THE NO. 48 CAR SHOWED SOME SPEED AND THE CARS APPEARED MORE CONSISTENT LAST WEEKEND AT CHARLOTTE ENCOURAGING FOR YOU?
“Yeah, absolutely, I think the No. 88 has shown hints of brilliance. The No. 9 has had a couple of good races. The No. 48 has had some good races, so whenever one of us has a good race there is at least those notes that we can take for the next time we go there. Obviously, we don’t go to the Charlotte oval again this year, but we can apply that to the other intermediate tracks. Look at what they thought their strong suits were and weak points were and share all that information. Hendrick Motorsports does a really good job at sharing information and working together throughout different meetings, competition meetings and I feel like all four of us drivers talk quite a bit as far as what we are feeling in our race cars. So, I think it’s just more notes for the notebook on what worked and what didn’t work and what worked well for them, what worked better for them than the other three cars, so it’s definitely good.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE TURN AT POCONO?
“I don’t really have a least favorite or a favorite I guess. I think my favorite is going to be whichever end my race car is the best and my least favorite it going to be whichever end the race car is the worst. It’s definitely a compromise between the three ends and we’ve just got to find the right balance to put together overall lap time.”
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