Ford Performance NASCAR; Clint Bowyer Open Interview – Kansas 2

Ford PR


Date: Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

Event: Hollywood Casino 400 (Media Availability)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval)

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Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1 Haas Automation Ford Fusion, returns to his home track at Kansas Speedway. Bowyer held a media session prior to today’s qualifying for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.

CLINT BOWYER (No. 14 Haas Automation Ford Fusion) — YOU WERE DOWN IN YOUR HOMETOWN LAST NIGHT. WHAT WERE YOU DOING? “I had another large night as we did our charity event. It was actually the 10th year that we’ve been doing that back home. We hit the $4 million mark, and in a small town like that I’m really proud of. It’s always excited to go back and give back to your own community and change a lot of people’s lives and lean on your peers, partners, sponsors and all the people that come together year after year. Really gratifying and humbling.”

IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU FEEL REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS AREA? THE FANS COMING OUT TO SEE EVERYBODY. WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE BACK? “It’s an easy sell when you think about Kansas Speedway. With our fans, crew guys, it just doesn’t matter if you’re affiliated with this sport you enjoy coming to this area and this race track. Talk about the area; holy cow. I remember going to Lakeside and racing week-in-and-week out and seeing it being built. It seems like every single year that we come back we see something more to enjoy for us as race teams but for race fans. There’s just not a track that you can walk and do things like you can do at Kansas. Whether it’s a god BBQ or shopping, casino, Cabelas, there’s something for everyone here.”

ANY REGRET FOR HOW THE RACE ENDED LAST WEEKEND AND YOUR OUTBURST ON YOUR CREW CHIEF? COULD THAT CAR HAVE CONTINUED? “No. No, that’s why we were done. Unfortunately, the rules that you’re in, it sucks. It didn’t seem like anybody could continue at Talladega last week. It’s just a frustrating race. It’s extremely nerve wracking. To be dead honest with you, when I’m at home there are only two tracks that I’m scared of. There is only track in the back of my mind that I could lose my life and those are the only two. When things get out of control you have to remember that. Were still out there risking our lives. There’s a lot at stakes. That’s behind us. It seems like it was a month ago. I had a sponsor commitment in New Mexico and the team took Kurt (Busch) to the Roval. He filled in for me and I’m going to fill in for him next week and then we’re going to Homestead to try and create a path for our teammate Kevin Harvick to win a championship. That’s the thing about Stewart-Haas; there’s not quit. It’s a collaborative effort with everybody and all the race teams until we don’t have a car in the hunt that effort is not going to stop.”

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF LIKE? DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH HIM? ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD IN HAVING SOME CONTINUITY AND THE SAME GUYS FOR A SECOND-STRAIGHT YEAR? AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL HELP YOU IN THE FUTURE? “There’s just so much change. It’s just not me. I wasn’t the only piece of the puzzle that changed at Stewart-Haas. The manufacturer, the whole package. It’s hard to explain what goes into uprooting your whole system. You’re talking chassis; that’s the easy part. The metal. The things that you see for the naked eye. The simulation. The whole database. Literally, everything that we use as a tool to collectively got to work on a weekend, that whole program has to be re-wrote, refined week-in-and-week-out. Perfected every single time that you look at it. It takes time. You start to see the results. The  4 car is standing out still amongst the other ones. And that’s the hardest part, to figure all that out. At the end of the day you can have the best computers. You can have the other stuff. It’s all about people. It use to be getting the most out of each other. Now it’s about each other getting the most out of the computer. It’s still about people.”

WAS THERE SOME KIND OF CONFUSION BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR CREW CHIEF LAST WEEKEND? DID YOU AGREE LATER THAT IT COULDN’T GO ON. OR WAS THERE SOME CONFUSION INITIALLY THAT HE THOUGHT IT COULD AND YOU THOUGHT IT COULDN’T. “No. I hit the same car three damn times (laughs). It was the 72 car. It seem like I would spin around and no sooner that I would get it gathered up, he was doing the same thing and I’d smoke him again and then we’d both go crazy like pinballs. You would open up your eyes to see what happend, get it underneath of you and you’d be T-up again. I think it was the 72 car. A light blue car. That’s what I remember. I hit it three different times. When you get down to the end of those things there’s a point (where) you can feel it as a fan. You can feel it in the car. There’s a point in those races where you have to be in position, in the hunt. The one common denominator is I knew and I felt strongly that a Ford was going to win that race. In back of my mind there’s a handful of tracks that I feel we can competitive win at and beat these Toyotas right now. That was one of them. Just a lot of things going on and confusion was one of them, that’s for damn sure.”

HE THOUGHT YOU COULD CONTINUE RACING? “Well, yeah. That’s why we came to the pits and took a look at it. Somebody drove around the tack at the beginning of the race and oiled the track down and I think NASCAR made them wait until the race was over four hours later, or whenever the hell he got done with it. I was in Kansas unloading my family. That sucked.”

LAST RACE HERE YOU STARTED 30TH AND FINISHED NINTH. YOU’RE PRETTY FAST ON THE SHEET HERE TODAY. WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHANCES ON SUNDAY AND WHAT ABOUT THAT GAME LAST NIGHT (KANSAS CITY CHIEFS – NFL)? “I didn’t get a chance to see it! Here’s what sucked about last night and not much did because it was a ton of fun and great to see everyone back home and raising all the money and the success that we had. Truth be told. I leaned on Jimmie Johnson to play and things get a little bit out of control at some of my events. There was a large group at the bar that wouldn’t leave the bar and I was like, ‘Come on guys, the band is starting’. I figured it out that not only was it a cute girl that was serving the alcohol, it was the alcohol. The third aspect of that was the damn Chiefs game was on!. So I hate to say this in Kansas City but I had to go up and turn the TV off for a little while to go see my boy play. And by time I got back over to see who won the game was over and frustration set in when they gave it up there at the end. I’m hoping to catch that Monday night game here coming up next week, right? Or doing the week after. It’s just fun. Kansas City is just rolling right now if you’re a sports fan at all. Ned and the gang gave us a hell of a run the last three years or so and the Chiefs are turning the corner. It’s a lot fun.” YOUR

CHANCES THIS SUNDAY? “Yeah, we got outrun by the LIS machine as everybody seems to be doing quite regularly these days. We didn’t get a chance to qualify so we started at the back and got up through them decent. That was a top 10 day. I feel like the car is making decent grip. We have to work on some things for race trim. All of us were pretty decent for qualifying trim but for race trim I think we need to be a little bit better. The hardest part of practicing and running now is that you’re running on the bottom of the race track. You know in the back of your mind that we’re going to be up there rim-riding and being on the fence and that creates a whole different animal. It is kind of tricky to be working on race trim. Just to get an idea on on your gaps and all the things that we do to get collected for tomorrow’s practice or even if it rains tomorrow, for the race. There’s rhyme and reason to everything that we do and how it and the schedule of how we use your allotment of tires, everything goes into that. You’re going to have to lean on your notes a little bit, especially if we don’t get to practice tomorrow you’re going to have to use that to your advantage.”

DO YOU KNOW WHO YOUR TEAMMATES WILL BE NEXT YEAR YET? AND DO YOU HAVE ANYBODY IN MIND? HOW MUCH WOULD A CHANCE TO WIN HERE SALVAGE YOUR SEASON? “Oh God.It’s been a long time. We’re hungry and we’re trying. That’s that’s the frustrating thing about looking back on the year. We’re getting close the end and it’s just been that way all season long. When you look back and I look back at my history, consistency has always been what got me and kept me in the running. And this year has been a really solid run. A second (place) or something followed up by two steps back. It seems like you get on a roll – I think the biggest roll we got on was like three or four races. Back in the day we could click off maybe as much as 10 and really march up through the points and gain that confidence and everything that goes with it. These stages have put a really big role in that. Qualifying is so important. You have to be able to get out there in that clean air and use that to your advantage. You just can’t race that way anymore. You can’t race your way up like you use to.”

TEAMMATES FOR NEXT YEAR: “I don’t know. It’s not my job. I know that I’m going to be there. I know who’s going to be in the 14. I know who’s going to be in the 4.”

AFTER WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEKEND, WOULD YOU CONSIDER GOING THROUGH A CREW CHIEF CHANGE TO HELP THE CHEMISTRY? “I don’t know. It’s not time…it’s time to start thinking about that. At the end of the day, it’s about depth in our organization and building and organization. We just talked about teammates and things. Who knows. There could be a lot of different things that happen in the off-season for Stewart-Haas. You don’t know that. I don’t know that or anybody else Time will tell and paint a lot clearer picture.”


WHICH SEASON WAS THAT? “14 I think? 15. Halfway through 15 I think.” DO YOU THINK THAT COULD BE A SOLUTION FOR YOU? “How would you like me to answer this, Lee? How would you answer this?”

TONY GIBSON WANTS TO BE OFF THE ROAD? “You seem to know more about this than me. If you do, come over and write it down and let me know what you want me to say. It would be a lot easier.”

HOW HAS THE SWAP OVER FROM FORD BEEN? HOW HAS THE CHEMISTRY BEEN? “Everybody sees it. There’s manufacturers. There’s aero changes. There’s engines. There’s so many pieces to the puzzle that go into the performance side of it. Is there a manufacturer who’s ahead of everyone right now on the aero side? I believe, yes. Wholeheartedly I think we can all understand that. I think it’s nothing more that stats to paint that picture. I think it’s a black and white picture. Stats don’t ever lie and those are real. Do we have to work to do with the Fords? Yes. Are the Fords extremely strong on the restrictor tracks? Yes. Is there rhyme or reason for that? Yes. We come back to a mile-and-a-half and the rule changes. The game changes and same rules don’t apply.  It’s easy to be greedy and want to be the best on all of them. The sanctioning body does a good job, a decent job, at keeping that on an even playing field as we go to all these race tracks.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.