Ford Performance NASCAR: Talladega Media Availability (Clint Bowyer)

Ford PR

Ford Performance Notes and Quotes

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS)

Friday, April 26, 2019

EVENT: GEICO 500 Media Availability

CLINT BOWYER, No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang — DO YOU THINK IT WILL BE BETTER TO BE OUT FRONT IN THE FINAL LAP OR BE SECOND OR THIRD OR WHAT? “It is always better to be out front whether you are at Talladega or Texas or anywhere in between. Out front is where everyone wants to be. It is the hardest place to get to and the hardest place to stay. So many things can happen on the last lap at one of these plate tracks like this. You have to be the first guy. We have seen the videos – myself even – where I passed Jeff Burton coming to the line. My teammate Kevin Harvick made a pass coming to the line. Those scenarios can happen and as long as the caution doesn’t come out before then, it can happen. There are so many different scenarios that can take that win from you. If you are in second place thinking you are in the catbird seat to slingshot by ‘em coming off of four on the front straightaway and then because of a cation you don’t get that opportunity. Out front is the place to be. It doesn’t matter where you are at. If you woke up every day of your life and knew what the future would hold, that would be a pretty boring life. That is what is cool about Talladega. I don’t know. A lot of people wake up in the morning wishing the night before didn’t happen at Talladega. Nonetheless, I hope my hangover is Monday morning from celebrating a Sunday victory.”


DO YOU ENJOY THIS STYLE OR RACING THOUGH? “I think you have to. Every track, every scenario and place we go, they all have their own challenges in their own way. The team aspect here, I think has played out more than any on these plate tracks. You are working so hard with your spotter and trying to visualize the scenario that you need to be in with the right cars in the right place for that magical push. Then all of a sudden you don’t know if the push will be there or if he is going to go around you or side-draft. That is where the strategy comes down to it, making sure you do enough of a good job to put yourself in a scenario where the car behind you has no choice but to benefit from pushing you. That is the key to having success here. Good old fashioned luck goes a long way here sometimes. The big one happens. Something chaotic happens. These stages have really compiled racing within the race. It isn’t just all about the end. As the stages come to an end, the first and second stages you really see the intensity pick up and it kind of gives you a glimpse of what you will see at the end and some carnage can happen at those. You have to be careful and cautious and lucky enough to get through there to get your points. But the place to be Talladega is no different than anywhere, it is out front. If you are ahead of all of that it doesn’t matter what happens in the mirror.”


DO YOU FEEL LIKE SHR IS GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION NOW AFTER THE WEST COAST SWING TO BE ABLE TO START COMPETING WITH PENSKE AND GIBBS? “Well, I think that the start of our season is just one or the other. Everybody works hard in the off-season and puts in the due diligence and works hard to make sure that we hit the ground running and sometimes that doesn’t work. Last year with the Stewart-Haas cars we rolled through the west coast swing and came out with confidence and didn’t really need to work on much. We had a lot of strengths and a few weaknesses we needed to polish up but we really were strong early and got that points base established early and we rode that wave on through the summer months. This year we missed. We weren’t exactly where we wanted to be or where we thought we would be or where the plan was through the west coast swing. Once you get back with a group like we have, a group of racers in the trenches at Stewart-Haas Racing you knew it wouldn’t take long to get to the punch and get our cars right. Meeting after meeting and talk after talk, the people, it all comes back to the people working tirelessly to get our cars turned around and I think the results the last month really proved it. We knocked on the door pretty hard and Kevin has been running well and Aric has been running well. Our cars are good. It is exciting times right now. That first group of tracks is behind us and we have learned what we need to learn and put it to good use.”


AT THE 550 HP RACES THERE WAS SPECULATION AT THE START OF THE YEAR THAT THERE WOULD BE MORE WRECKS. WHY HASN’T THERE BEEN? “What do you want me to do Bob, you want me to wreck them all? I am sorry, I can’t help but be a smart ass. It is what I am good at and I have to stick with it. The answer is this, I don’t think you can plan or ever – yes, I thought that the 550 package would create exactly what it did on the restart and things like that. I thought the intensity would be very strong on restarts on the 1.5 mile tracks in particular. We thought we would be bunched up and anytime you bunch cars up, nine times out of 10 that leads to some sort of carnage on the race track. I think the downforce aspect of the package that we are running with our cars this year is a big part of that. I think the tires is probably a bigger part of that. the cars drive really well and I think the point is proven when you put them four and five wide on restarts wide open and still don’t crash that they are pretty stable underneath. Yes, I am a little bit surprised at how well some of these restarts and some of the crazy chaotic scenarios that we have seen, because they have been there, hasn’t resulted in some wrecks. I guarantee you I have looked at a few of them out ahead of me on the west coast when I wasn’t running well and saw some things in front of me and thought, ‘Well, this is gonna hurt.’ But it never did. I think a big part of that is how stable the cars are, and the tires are very predictable. They are just more stable and they drive good.”

WHAT INFLUENCE HAS YOUR MOM HAD ON YOUR CAREER? “When I think of my mom, I think of Oklahoma. The dirt is red and all three of us brothers were racing motorcycles and racing two or three classes and we would be down there for a week. Now that I am older and have kids, it is hell for a parent. I couldn’t imagine having three kids racing all these different classes and have to keep track of that and when to be up there. It would rain and it was muddy and I remember my mom, she was like the coolest girl in the pits because my dad found her like this miniature washing machine and she was washing all the red dirt out of those clothes and trying to keep everything clean. I had white boots and she was trying to keep those clean. I remember how hard they worked to get us to the races and once you are there, oh my gosh, it is a lot of work. That wasn’t Kansas. We grew up in Kansas but we raced in Oklahoma and Texas and all over the place. My parents owned a business together and ran that together and raised three boys. We always raced. We always traveled up and down the road in a motorhome. Everyone always asks how you get used to living in a motorhome, but hell, it is the only thing I have ever lived in. A nice house is something but nothing sleeps better than a 40-foot Winnebago. It might not be a Winnebago anymore but you get the gist.”

Greg Engle