NASCAR Nextel Cup Series: Bank of America 500
Topics: Bank of America 500
October 13, 2007
CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA
KERRY THARP: We are pleased to be jointed in media center by the runner-up in tonight's race, Clint Bowyer, driver of the 07 Jack Daniels Chevrolet. Clint is currently third in the Chase in points. You had a heck of a run out there tonight. Talk about it and your thoughts.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it was a good run for us. There's no secret, this is a struggle for me coming to this place. I always seem to find a place to spin out and into turn four wall. But finally finished the race here and second, it's a loser but in the big picture it's a points save for us. I didn't qualify the best and we were able to get up high.
It's uncharacteristic of everything of me, I finished and ran high and I don't have do that. I'm really proud of all of the guys on the Jack Daniels Chevrolet and they basically built the car for this track and I'm always loose here and driving too loose and they built a car that's a little bit tighter. We went and tested at Nashville and put a lot of effort into it. It wasn't from lack of effort, it was a good day, good night whatever.
KERRY THARP: We are joined by our third place finisher, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 5 Kellogg's Car Quest Chevrolet. Kyle, your thoughts about tonight's race and how you thought things shaped up.
KYLE BUSCH: It wasn't bad. We had a pretty good car all night long. Just kept fighting a tight chatter through the center of the corner and got it a little bit freed up and got it a little bit too loose there but still kept it loose to keep it turning.
We were just really, really loose on the short run there and that's why everybody kept running way from us for a while, especially Jeff and Clint, and they were able to do the same thing and we were able to get a little more tightened up and they were tightening up, too and we were able to run by them and Jeff was too far ahead when the race went green and then with the caution, running out of gas going into turn run, both of us, he did a little more than I did, because I was ready to go and I wasn't going and finally he moved up and I was able to move up a little bit but those guys had a significant enough run on us where we couldn't really do anything
But other than that, I don't know, easy day, third place, whatever. Didn't make up much ground in the points.
Q. Clint, speaking of being too loose, what did you think when you saw Newman pretty much steal the lead away and one lap later he parks the thing in the wall?
CLINT BOWYER: Couldn't believe it, about like you. Looked to me like he was going to go and win his first race of the year and whammy, ran out of something, ran out of grip, looked to me like.
Q. For both you guys, obviously you still want to consider yourselves still in the Chase, Clint maybe a little more so, but at this point, five races to go, is Jeff the guy to beat?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I think Jeff has been the guy to beat all year long, not necessarily in the Chase. Both those guys have been on top of the game; the whole organization has.
But, you know, for me and my team and our organization, we've just got to pick it up a little bit. It's going to take -- they are going to have to stub their toe a little bit for us to catch them. I've just got to go out and win races and lead the most laps and run them down because they are going to finish right behind you.
So it's going to take quite a bit of luck, but, you know, we've seen stranger things happen.
KYLE BUSCH: Yeah, we were five times in that situation. So we've got some work that is ahead of us. We need to go and run strong like we have. I guess the finishes that we have had without any troubles have been a fourth and a fifth and a third. Besides that, getting dumped at Kansas and getting wrecked last week, it's tough on in. You have to go on in and do what you can and hopefully Martinsville will be a good weekend for us.
Q. Clint, did you think you would be the top RCR driver at this point coming into the season?
KYLE BUSCH: Sure, he did.
CLINT BOWYER: You hope so. That's what your job is. But not only to -- of course you want to out run the guys, but you have a job to do. There's a lot of other cars out there. There's 40 other cars you want to beat, or 41, whatever. But it's no different than anybody else. You want to beat them, but you want to help them, too, what you can.
We've been working; Burton, he was running up front; Harvick, he was fast. I don't know what happened to him. Even a lap down he was able to run with the leaders all night. So we are picking up our game. We're coming. We've just got a long ways to go. They are obviously a step ahead of everybody right now and we have to pick up the program a little more
Q. How gratifying is it to be in this position in your second year, and how daunting is it to face guys like Gordon and Jimmie to try and win it?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, it's very gratifying. You know, only our second year together, we're running up front and doing what we're paid to do. You know, we won a race, we're running for a championship; it's been an awesome year so far. We have five races to go and we have to keep this momentum strong and keep everybody with a pep in their step and energy and stay energized.
We've got to stay full-court pressed and hopefully have a little bit of luck on their run and a little misfortune on their end. You don't wish that upon anybody, but right now that's what it's going to take to win a championship
Q. Might seem like an odd question but you've been drilled so often and been hit like at Talladega and Kansas, knocked out of races that are not your fault, but when it's the end of the race and you're the guy behind, how hard is it when that happens to you not to run over the guy ahead of you?
KYLE BUSCH: I don't get it. I don't get the question. I'm the guy behind who?
Q. Behind Gordon in the lead. Guys have run over you multiple times in the Chase.
KYLE BUSCH: Okay.
Q. How hard is it for you not to run over somebody?
KYLE BUSCH: That's better. We're on the same page, now, thank you. I wasn't even in the same book, really. Okay.
It's pretty easy. I've got two feet and two hands and I've got eyeballs so I can look out the windshield and make sure I don't run into the back of somebody, you know.
Obviously, Jeff, we got down there into turn one and he stumbled and ran out of fuel, had a vapor issue or whatever it was; we'll go back and research that more and figure out what it was but I didn't run over him and I got past by three guys and I wasn't too anxious to get going and I didn't want to dump him. If it was anybody in that situation, you don't want to wreck him. I feel like I could have done and did a pretty good job of not running into the back of him.
Q. Kyle, what does it say to some of the people that may have criticized you in the past because after everything that happened in June, some guys may have just mailed it in but you're doing a heck of an effort and you're still out there slugging away and doing a professional job. What does that say for some of the people that may not have always been in your corner in
KYLE BUSCH: That Joe Gibbs Racing is pretty excited to get me. Besides that, this is me. This is who I am. I just try to go out there and race a race car to the best of my ability week-in and week-out. You know, if it's getting in crashes of my own doing or not of my own doing, you know, that's a part of it I guess. And if it's good finishes like it was tonight, and the first two Chase races, so be it.
It's tough to have to go through those rough times but everybody does that sometimes. For us, it was there the past couple of weeks. Hopefully we can just straighten it out and keep going the way we are right here.
Q. You were coming into that last restart, I'm assuming you obviously knew that Jeff was struggling a little with fuel. When he spun his tires on the restart, were you afraid of trying to swing out too hard to get around him? Is that why you ultimately got him in the year instead of getting around?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it was like he either hit second gear right there; I was closing on him pretty good and I had my car rolling and he was spinning. You know, I was kind of closing on him, kind of how I anticipated, and just about the time I moved out, he really checked out. I think that's when he shifted and didn't give me enough time to dart low. I was trying to wait to the line before I started low to make sure I was covered by the rule.
But I messed up. I ran in the back of him and had a pretty good run on him. I don't know, he probably would have sucked back by me off of two and that was going to be my only chance. I was way tight there at the end and I knew the start was going to be my time.
You know, when he ran down there and won and ran out of fuel, whatever happened, you know, everybody checked up. But you know, it was -- there was oil down on the racetrack. Everybody -- I didn't know if he was in the oil and slipped up. I didn't know whether to go down low or get out of dodge because he was fixin' to spin out. So everybody was kind of checking up right there to see what was going to happen.
Q. Clint, in the battle for the championship here, what do you view more important about tonight; the fact that you were able to keep pace for the most part with Jeff, or the fact that a lot of the guys who were maybe on the fringe of contending didn't have good days and are pretty much out of it?
CLINT BOWYER: I'm just thrilled that I made it through here without hitting that turn four wall, to be honest with you. (Laughing) Every time I come here, I manage to find that wall at one point or another in the race. I don't think other than the do you think I put in when I hit Gordon there's not a gouge on it.
You just go to the racetrack and race as hard as you can and control what you can. It's going to take a lot of luck on our part and a lot of misfortune on their part. If that happens, we've got to be in the position to be able to take advantage of it. That's the only thing we can do.
Q. Is this second place finish easier for you to accept than in Kansas where you actually went across the finish line first?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, second, it sucks. I'm not going to lie to you. It's like, man, what could I have done different to win.
This, probably got lucky finishing second. Kyle got flipped up there and he was certainly faster at the end and he had quite a bit freer car than we did and was good on the long run. I thought he would have something on the 24, but have run out of talent or something.
Other than that, it was a fun night.
KYLE BUSCH: That wall scares me.
Q. When you're getting ready during the red flag, Hendrick got on the radio to both you and Jeff. When Rick is in your ear, does that add any stress or additional pressure to you or are you pretty used to him talking to you during the race?
KYLE BUSCH: I'm pretty much used to that. We had that scenario before, I think it was with Jimmie and Jeff one other time as well. He just doesn't want to see Martinsville again from 190-whatever.
Q. What did he say?
KYLE BUSCH: Just be cool, we don't need any wrecked race cars. If Jeff feels like you've got a run on him or something like that, he'll give it to you.
But no, I've had that before, so it's all good. I don't know. I mean, I'm used to it. I get told a lot of things to do, so I'm used to it.
KERRY THARP: Congratulations.
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