MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 27, 2018
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Talladega Superspeedway and discussed his success at Daytona and if he can translate it to Talladega, the progress of the No. 88 team thus far in 2018, Hendrick Motorsports 250th victory and many other topics. Full Transcript:
IT SEEMS LIKE JUST YESTERDAY WE WERE DOING YOUR MEDIA DAY AFTER YOU WON THE POLE AT DAYTONA. THIS WEEK YOU CELEBRATED YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CURRENTLY SIT 13TH IN POINTS. WHAT DO YOU, GREG IVES (CREW CHIEF) AND THE REST OF THE NO. 88 TEAM NEED TO DO TO BE IN VICTORY LANE THIS WEEKEND?
“I think it is superspeedway racing so you’ve just got to stay out of trouble and hopefully keep the No. 88 Nationwide Chevy up front all day. We were really strong in Daytona obviously, we sat on the pole and we were fast all day and ran up front for a good part of the day. I think we can be really strong we’ve just got to keep it up front and stay out of trouble. It’s easy to get caught up in somebody else’s mess here. We will try to lead every lap and go from there.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU PICKED UP AT DAYTONA IN THE HENDRICK CARS THAT YOU CAN CARRY OVER HERE?
“Well, heck, I wish I was a rookie, I would be leading rookie of the year, so I will take it. No, I think I definitely learned quite a bit at Daytona. I hadn’t speedway raced in quite a while at that point and obviously the rules package changed, so I feel like everybody was really in a learning process throughout Speedweeks and the (Daytona) 500. Obviously, we didn’t really race in the Duel, we kind of hung out, so the 500 was a good learning day for us. Our car handled really well and had a lot of speed which we felt would be a bigger compromise than maybe it was. I thought it was a really good day for us. I don’t think there is anything in particular that I can really tell you that I learned or didn’t learn, but kind of just learning how the cars react to different situations and stuff like that was good.”
YOU ARE INVOLVED WITH PAWS FOR RACING THAT DEADLINE IS COMING UP APRIL 30TH TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT PROMOTION AND WHAT A LUCKY FAN CAN WIN:
“So that is pretty cool paws and racing we are going to have one lucky fan win a trip to Richmond and they are going to get to hang out with Dale (Earnhardt, Jr.) and I before the race as well as have their pet on the back of the No. 88 car for that race. That is going to be really cool. We had Finn on the back of the car, my dog, in Texas, which was a cool surprise to me from Nationwide so it’s going to be really cool for a lucky fan and hopefully be really fun for them.”
AT DAYTONA IT WAS NEW FOR EVERYBODY BECAUSE OF THE NO RIDE HEIGHT RULE EVERYBODY HAD A WEEK TO GET READY FOR THAT AND STILL THERE WERE ISSUES WITH THE BIG RUNS, HANDLING, AND ACCIDENTS. HERE THERE ARE TWO PRACTICES WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES IS IT FOR DRIVERS TO GET USED TO THESE BIGGER RUNS?
“I think it’s going to be similar to Daytona. Talladega typically has a little more handling in the track than Daytona does. Hopefully, that will be a positive for some, but I think you will see a very similar race to the 500. Probably a lot of accidents and people get sick of wrecking and get single file up against the wall and then it will get crazy again at the end. I mean that is kind of how the speedway races tend to work. Talladega is unique in that when they paved the tri-oval somebody messed up and there is a big ole seam that is crooked in the middle of the tri-oval and gets cars moving around so that might be an action point for the race. It’s hard to say, but I really think it will be a similar race to the 500.”
HOW MUCH WILL YOU BE CONCERNED ABOUT PACKING AIR ON THE LEFT-REAR?
“Yeah, it’s still going to do the same thing. With the ways these race cars are and the rules and everything it’s kind of a box. You have what you have really and there are somethings you can do to try to help your car with that, but not very many. It’s just going to be part of it and everybody saw what happened at Daytona and knows how they need to protect that left-rear quarter panel so I think you will see guys pretty aggressively blocking to protect having somebody on your left-rear and that is just going to cause more accidents too. That is just superspeedway racing and that is part of why it puts on such a great show for the fans.”
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS IS ON THE VERGE OF ITS 250TH CUP SERIES WIN. WHAT KIND OF A MILESTONE LIKE THAT IS FOR THE ORGANIZATION?
“It’s awesome. We need to get to that 250th sooner rather than later, but it just speaks volumes for Hendrick Motorsports and the powerhouse that it is and has been for so long. I think when we figure these new Camaro ZL1’s out we will get that 250th and surpass it and keep going. It’s just an honor to be part of such a great race team.”
DO YOU THINK THE CHAOS HERE IS A PROBLEM AS FAR AS FINISHING OR HAVE YOU LEARNED ENOUGH BEING IN GOOD EQUIPMENT TO GET TO THE FRONT?
“I mean I would say superspeedway racing is really luck of the draw as far as finishing one or not finishing one. It’s really easy to put yourself in all the right situations and not make any mistakes and somebody just crash in front of you and you can’t go anywhere. It’s really a lot of luck of the draw. Last time here I think we were running top five somewhere and got spun out there towards the end. It’s really a lot of luck of the draw. So just have to wait and see. I think having a faster race car and being in front of more of those accidents is definitely a positive though.”
DO DRIVERS GET MORE AGGRESSIVE OR IT IS JUST OUT OF THEIR HANDS?
“I think everybody is aggressive, but at the same time if we all single file out and run up against the wall for 490 miles and then race hard for the last four laps nobody is going to be pumped up about that. Everybody wants to lead and run up front and that is what race car drivers are here to do. We are not just going to ride around and get to the end of the race.”
YOUR CAR AND THAT NUMBER HAVE A LOT OF HISTORY HERE. DO YOU FEEL KIND OF MORE SUPPORT WHERE PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU AND SEE THE PAST? DOES THAT ADD A LITTLE BIT OF PRESSURE RACING HERE?
“I wouldn’t say it adds any pressure. Just really happy to be here driving the No. 88 car. It’s a special place for this car for sure. Obviously, Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., everywhere he went was extremely popular, but especially coming to Talladega. My job is to just give the No. 88 fans something to cheer for. Hopefully, they are still cheering for us. Last time here we ran up front and that is what I plan on doing still.”
THE NOSE OF THE CAMARO WAS A PROBLEM AT DAYTONA. HAS CHEVROLET DONE ANYTHING TO FIX THAT?
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it was a problem. I mean you watched a Camaro win the pole and win the race. It’s just a characteristic. Every manufacturer’s car has different characteristics and different strong suits. It was obviously really successful at Daytona in winning the race and winning the pole. We haven’t changed anything. The cars still look the same. All the characteristics of the car, body lines are still all the same. So, no, nothing has changed.”
CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHAT THE MOOD HAS BEEN LIKE AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? IS THERE A SENSE THAT THINGS ARE TURNING A CORNER?
“We all want to win races and be successful every week. There has been a lot made of how we kind of started the year and how we have been running. I think there are a lot of people talking about it externally. Internally we’ve all got our heads down just focused on getting better. Nobody is upset or getting too excited about anything. We are just trying to consistently get better and make smart decisions with the race team to improve each and every week, which is something that I think we’ve done. The No. 88 car in particular had a very rough week in Richmond. We did not have a good race, but our teammates ran pretty strong which was a positive. We had a great test in Michigan this week. We were really fast, so I think we are continuing to make progress each and every week and learn our race cars. Chase Elliott is even going to give me spelling lessons (laughs), so we are making progress on all sorts of things.”
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