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Jun 14, 2013 - 02:43 PM
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2013 Michigan Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Clint Bowyer
Posted by: ASkyler on Jun 14, 2013 - 02:43 PM
2013 Michigan Q&A: NASCAR Sprint Cup - Clint Bowyer

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing How was practice today? "Yeah, practice went pretty good -- a good turnaround from last week. Seems like last week's track really was -- it seemed to be one of the first races that we really had a big difference, a big separation in practice and speed and we knew there were cars that were head and shoulders above other cars, other teams. Certainly, we were a little bit behind with our MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) teams last week, so guys made some adjustments back home in the shop -- as many as they could - - seems like they woke the cars up a little bit and had pretty good speed, so excited about the weekend. It's always fun to come up here. Fun, fun crowd up here. The fan base is a lot of fun. The infield in this race track -- a lot of good times out there, so it's always fun to race in front of a crowd like that that's close to everything. It's fun up here. Track's fast, extremely fast and she's bleached out a little bit, but it's still got pretty good speed so it's going to be a good race."


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How would you describe Michigan in one word? "I mean, one word it would be, 'Fast,' obviously. Two hundred laps is going to be a lot of different things. Anytime your speeds are up that high, these things are singing a pretty high tune. You're really ringing them out on a track like that. Hard on the drivetrain and things like that and the engine attrition is always a big part of this, fuel mileage can come to be a part of it at the end. You never know what's going to be the winning combination at this race track. The restarts are going to be exciting -- as much as grip as this place has in it, I think the restart as are going to be fun and exciting."

Are you concerned about the engines? "Everybody knows where we're at, what's going on. That's the neat thing about Toyota and the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) camp. They sat us all down last week and explained where they're at on it and gave us a lot of intel and some insight on what's going. Me personally, I love that. As long as you know what's going on, know what to expect, know the game plan and, more importantly, probably when we can be back on track as far as 100 percent is concerned, I'm fine with that. Where we're at in the points, a DNF hurts you way, way, way worse than a win could ever possibly help you in this sport and that's our case right now. Again, we've been off a little bit the last couple of weeks. I think it's a big turnaround for our team, our organization this weekend and I'm excited to go battle. They pulled a little bit back from us. If we get our cars handling good, they're plenty capable of winning the race. I'm not worried about the engines as far as being the reason, the cause that we can't win. We tried to squeeze some more juice out of it, yes."

Can you finish ahead of Jimmie Johnson in points again this year? "Hopefully you can take out the first part of that and use the last part, 'If you beat Jimmie Johnson, you're probably going to win the championship.' Hopefully, that will be the case. They are good. When it's all said and done, you're going to look back at that team and they're going to be the best this sport has ever seen. You can't say that right now -- they're still going. My personal opinion is that when it's all said and done and Jimmie Johnson is retired and sitting on a couch somewhere, he's probably going to be sitting there as the best the sport has ever seen."

Does Jason Leffler's death concern you about safety at dirt tracks when competing? "No, as far as safety standards, they're as best as we know how to make them on any level. Certainly, we learn from our mistakes a lot of times, but they're the best that we know how to make them at whatever the level it is, whether it's a street stock competition or a Cup race. It's still sad. Jason (Leffler) was such a good guy -- he was fun to be around and it's just weird to think that he's not around anymore. Of course it's scary, but we're all racers and we love to go to the race track just like he did and compete. It's what we've done our whole lives and it's probably not going to stop now."

Do you look forward to returning to Sonoma as the defending race winner? "I can't wait -- hopefully, we can do it again. Fun race track. It's the first road course of the year. It's always nerve- wracking just getting on the race track, shifting gears and having to down shift coming onto pit road to meet pit road speed -- it's exciting. The track itself is fun. I think it's like a short track of road course racing. I love short track racing, so it's just one of those tracks I've always been able to get on the race track, find pretty good speed and get comfortable and get settled in and have a good weekend."

Why are drivers willing to talk about the risks in racing more in this generation? "I don't know that it's changed -- nobody likes to talk about that, but everybody loved to be around Jason (Leffler). You want to talk about the good times and the positive things that he brought to all of us. I don't know that it's that we don't want to talk about it, certainly scary to talk about it and sad to talk about it, but it's a good thing for anybody."

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