MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
GOBOWLING AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 5, 2018
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL CAMARO ZL1, and Jim McCoy, Associate Vice President of Sports Marketing and Sponsorships at Nationwide met with members of the media at Watkins Glen and discussed Nationwide’s recent sponsorship renewal and Alex’s contract extension, his season thus far and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT THE SPECIAL PAINT SCHEME ON THE CAR THIS WEEKEND AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL:
ALEX BOWMAN: “It is a pretty amazing cause working with Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It’s been a lot of fun. I made my third visit up there this week. It’s always a humbling place and puts things in perspective. I’ve been to a lot of different children’s hospitals, but that facility is just amazing. It was really cool to go up there and see everything again. To have Bricen’s name on the car is so special. I actually got to drive the first Nationwide Children’s Hospital car with the patient champion on it in 2013. So, cool to do that again, the last time we had another patient champions name on the car I think was Phoenix with me driving in 2016 and we almost won. So, hopefully, more of that, but it’s just an amazing cause to be a small part of.”
JIM MCCOY: “Nationwide we have had a 60 plus year relationship with the hospital in Columbus, Ohio and donated more than 100 million dollars as an organization, but it’s great within our sports marketing group the last season to add 6.1 million dollars just for the hospital from our team. We have been able to do on-track activity the last four years with the No. 88 team and Alex has been a great partner this year coming up to the hospital a couple of times to learn as much as he can and continue to connect with the hospital in a meaningful way. And get to meet great kids like Bricen who are champions of the hospital and have gone through so much. And to bring them out to the race track and celebrate them for the day is pretty special. We look forward to a good rest of the weekend.”
NATIONWIDE ALSO MADE A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT THIS WEEK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH ALEX AND HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS, YOU MUST BE PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT THAT:
JIM MCCOY: “Yeah, it’s great to continue to develop the relationship with Hendrick and Alex specifically. It’s been a great first year, learned a lot on both sides and Alex continues to develop into a great young driver, but also doing a lot for us as an organization off the track as well and connecting with our associates whether it’s in Columbus or Berea (Ohio) or connecting to our causes like Nationwide Children’s Hospital and continuing to see improvement on the race track too. We are excited to stay committed to Mr. Hendrick and the entire No. 88 team to continue to see Alex grow and develop into the driver that we know he is.”
ALEX YOU RECEIVED A CONTRACT EXTENSION ALONG WITH THAT NEWS COMING OUT THIS PAST WEEK. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO HAVE NATIONWIDE AND HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS SUPPORT BEHIND YOU?
ALEX BOWMAN: “It’s pretty amazing. It gives me a lot of confidence moving forward that Hendrick and Nationwide both have a lot of faith in me to support me like that. It’s been a lot of fun. My career has kind of come a long way and had a lot of up’s and down’s. So, to have some security in that means a lot to me. And to get to keep working with Nationwide it’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s been a lot of fun so far between the Children’s Hospital stuff and the pet insurance stuff there are so many different aspects of the relationship that is very real to me and that I really enjoy. It’s always cool to have a partnership that you really enjoy working with.”
TALK ABOUT ONE OF THE CHILDREN THAT IMPACTED YOUR VISIT WHILE YOU WERE UP AT THE HOSPITAL:
ALEX BOWMAN: “There were a few for sure. There were two that were big Dale, Jr. fans. So, they were pumped to see Dale again and to get to spend some time with them was really special. They love Dale and they had met Dale a couple of times previously. Dale was talking about the progress that they had made and how much bigger they had gotten and just how much they had grown. That was really special. It definitely puts things in perspective. You can have a bad day at the race track and get pretty frustrated with things, but you still get to be a race car driver for a living and going to see kids at a children’s hospital definitely puts things in perspective. That was neat as well as having Bricen here. I have never seen a little kid smile so much. It’s cool to be a part of putting that smile on his face. He is having a lot of fun carrying around some diecasts cars. He keeps crashing my diecast so hopefully we don’t do that today. Somebody might need to take it away during the race if it’s like a voodoo doll or something in there (laughs), but no, he is having a blast. He has his own little crew shirt and everything, so seeing his smile, honestly this weekend has been pretty impactful.”
HOW MUCH MORE STABLE DO YOU FEEL AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS WITH THE EXTENSION AND THE SPONSORSHIP COINCIDING WITH IT?
ALEX BOWMAN: “For me, since I started stock car racing I’ve never stayed in the same place for more than a year until I came to Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. To continue here in this relationship means a lot to me and I think it means a lot to the team as well that Greg (Ives, crew chief) knows he’s going to be continuing to work with me and the guys know that I’m going to be their driver. Just having that security and knowing that we are all kind of in it for the next couple of years and hopefully a long time after that. It means a lot to have them show a lot of faith in me like that. I’m just really enjoying it, trying to make the most of it and right now we are pretty focused on making the Playoffs. It’s going to be a tight race, but we are having a lot of fun doing it.”
HOW DIFFICULT HAS IT BEEN WORKING AS A COMPANY TO GET BETTER, BUT ALSO BEING A YOUNG GUY WANTING TO SHOW WHAT YOU CAN DO?
ALEX BOWMAN: “Yeah, absolutely, it’s kind of like…for me personally, you get ready for 2018, you are so pumped, you are so ready to go and it gets here and we show up in Atlanta and we realize we are pretty far off of where we need to be. That was kind of a big eye-opening experience for all four of us, I think. For me personally, I feel like I have pretty consistently run right with my teammates. I feel like the No. 9 (Chase Elliott) has been the best of us pretty consistently, but the other three of us you can kind of throw a blanket over us most of the time. I think if that wasn’t the case I would be a little more worried about it and a little more frustrated, but I feel like we have made a ton of progress. I think last week was a good testament to that. Chase was obviously really fast yesterday, so that is good, our cars are headed in the right direction, it just takes time. While I want to be winning races right now and be locked into that Playoffs and all that, the year still hasn’t gone terribly. We have been making the most out of the situation that we have and we are only going to get better from here. It can only go up.”
IN YOUR FIRST FULL-TIME SEASON IN THE NO. 88 CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT IT’S BEEN LIKE FOR YOU TRYING TO FILL THE SHOE’S OF NASCAR’S MOST POPULAR DRIVER?
ALEX BOWMAN: “To be honest with you, I’m not really trying to fill Dale’s (Earnhardt, Jr.) shoes. Dale is still around. He is not even driving a race car and he’s still more popular than all of us that are driving race cars. I’m just trying to be my own person and do my own thing. Dale and I are very different people. I’m just trying to be my own guy. Not trying to replace him or be him by any means just trying to have a lot of fun driving the No. 88 car and make the most of the opportunities given to me.”
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