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2017 Michigan II Q&A: NASCAR Monster Energy - Clint Bowyer
Posted by: ASkyler on Aug 11, 2017 - 07:07 PM
2017 Michigan II Q&A: NASCAR Monster Energy - Clint Bowyer

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Natureís Bakery Ford Fusion, is 28 points behind Matt Kenseth for what is now the current final playoff spot, but a win this weekend at Michigan International Speedway would change that scenario. Bowyer spoke about his chances prior to todayís practice session.

CLINT BOWYER - No. 14 Natureís Bakery Ford Fusion - HOW MUCH PRESSURE DO YOU FEEL COMING INTO THIS WEEKEND AND HOW DOES MIS SUIT YOU? "Michigan is a lot of fun. Michigan is a very important race track because a lot of bragging rights are on the line with the manufacturers all being right here, this track being in their backyard, so we all know that. We all feel that. We all went to Ford Day and I know the other competitors have their day and their announcement yesterday. You meet all those employees at Ford. You see them. You see their families, their children, everybody that they brought out - Edsel; his son, Henry. It makes you want to go to the race track and win in their backyard and celebrate that victory with them."

WHAT KIND OF PRESSURE DO YOU FEEL TO GET IN THE PLAYOFFS? "Thereís always pressure. It doesnít matter. Thereís pressure in the Daytona 500 to go out there and perform and try to win that race. Thereís always pressure. Itís no different now. You still focus on the task at hand. You focus on unloading a fast race car, making good downforce, making good horsepower, knowing itís gonna take that on this race track, and you focus on the adjustments, the balance of your car so you can go out and qualify well today. That enables you to gain those stage points as we go through the race and then work hard to get a finish. Itís the task at hand week-in and week-out that you have to focus on. You canít worry about those points. You have to go out and do your job week-in and week-out and if you do that, I feel like with the way weíre running we can get in two different ways. I think we could win and I think we can point our way in. I think both of those are definite doables right now for us, I guess."

DO YOU TAKE CHANCES? "You always have to take chances. Thatís the hard thing. When the pressure cooker is turned up and the situation is where it is right now, you can afford to take chances, you need to be able to take those chances to enable you to get those stage points if youíre out - make a gain to try to get them. But thereís also a catch-22 to every decision there, so you just have to lay it all out, focus on the task at hand, whether thatís a stage win or the second stage or the finish at the end - focus on that and let the rest take care of itself."

DO YOU THINK MR. HAAS WOULD GIVE YOU A CHANCE TO DRIVE THE F1 CAR? "I canít even get up early enough to watch those races let alone compete in them? I would love to do that. I know Gordon did that and have talked to him about that experience. Itís just amazing what those cars are capable of doing, but they look more like spaceships than race cars, if you ask me. I grew up in Kansas and we didnít have anything like that. We couldnít even get the station to cover that, so I donít know. And I canít understand the announcer that covers it anyway, so I donít know about that. I would like to go to that track that has all the boats on it, with those big yachts. If you can find me a rig like that to back up to the track, and watch them when I retire Iíll go with you how about that? Youíll have to talk to everybody, though. I wonít be able to do that, either."

CLINT BOWYER CONTINUED -- DALE JR. HAS HIS LAST RACE HERE AT MIS. WHAT IS HIS LEGACY? "I think that legacy started long before him, and he carried the flag for that legacy for a long time - kept that fan base alive. Thatís not on his shoulders to be able to do that. I felt itís always been a little bit unfair for him to have that workload on him, but heís done a good job with that and itís time for us to hold up our end of the deal and to capitalize on that. But that doesnít just mean a driver or anything else, that the program that you see week-in and week-out. You go back to Watkins Glen. Weíre getting beat up on attendance and things like that. These are all situational things. I believe in products. If you have a good product, theyíll come. Theyíll come and spend their hard-earned money on that product, whether thatís in New York, Michigan or California. If you put a good product on that race track, and not only the race track, a good product in the infield, a good environment in the grandstands, take care of the kids, the families and all the demographics - take care of all of that - youíre always gonna have fans flock to this sport. Thatís what put it on the map, whether there was a legacy on the line or not, the product on the race track is why people came to this. So I think if we can continue to put good products on the race track like we saw at Watkins Glen last weekend, you can expect full houses. People say, ĎWell, that grandstand wasnít full.í Well, thatís because they were able to get out of there and go to a different corner and watch and take in the environment of the weekend. I was one of the guys that got in a golf cart and did two youth autograph sessions, which is more than Iíve ever done. Families bringing their kids and enjoying a weekend worth of fun. It wasnít just a race worth of fun, that was an action-packed weekend full of fun for everybody."

WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS TIME OF YEAR THAT YOU ENJOY SO MUCH? "Well, itís summer. Everybody loves the summer. Itís just fun. Itís a ton of fun to be able to go to battle each and every week with my teammates at Stewart-Haas Racing, knowing that you have a chance at winning and knowing you can work alongside such quality people. Having a manufacturer behind you with Ford and the partners we have on these race cars, and being able to step in that environment and go to battle is so much fun. Aside from that, now the pressure cooker has heated up. Iím the hunter not the hunted, so itís a lot of fun to go into this weekend knowing that youíve got to go out there and chase that guy down or chase those guys down and hopefully pop off a win here and just put it all to bed."

DO YOU RACE BRISTOL DIFFERENT DURING THE DAY THAN AT NIGHT, AND DO YOU EXPECT NEXT WEEK TO BE CRAZY? "I hope itís crazy because I want to driveÖthey moved it to the front straightaway, didnít they? I think Iím still gonna pull on the building and celebrate up there because thatís where I want to celebrate in front of all those wild and crazy fans. Thereís no better atmosphere. Theyíre so close to you that you feel that environment, those fans like Bristol. Iím telling you, driver intros youíre walking down there and itís just the feeling that comes over you before you get in that car is just something you donít feel anywhere else. Itís because of the closeness of the fans to you. Theyíre all breathing down on you and expecting big things out of you, and you canít wait to go out there and get in that Colisseum and go to battle."

DO YOUR ROYALS HAVE ENOUGH TO CATCH MY INDIANS? "Man, I hope. Cleveland. We get on a nine-win streak and the only one better is Cleveland with 10. Surely, weíll run you down. Just like me on the race track, weíre hunting you down. Weíll come after you."

CLINT BOWYER CONTINUED -- WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE MORE AUTOGRAPH SESSIONS LIKE LAST WEEK AND TWO-DAY SHOWS? "Every situation is different and every track is different. Youíre selling a different product week-in and week-out. If youíre not doing a good job putting a product on the race track, theyíre not gonna come. You canít expect that. Thatís on us as an industry, as a sport, whether itís the drivers in the cars, the sanctioning body making sure that our cars are putting on a good show, Goodyear putting good tires under us that enable us to get side-by-side and put on good races, the aero platform, everybody. The whole industry is working hard to make sure that we are putting the best product on the track, whether itís at Michigan, Watkins Glen or California. Every situation, every weekend is different and you canít expect the same outcome or the same stage or the finish at all those different race tracks. You just canít."

THE FANS WANT TO KNOW WHEN JUNIOR IS GONE HOW WILL FAN INTERACTION CHANGE? "Itís the product. There is no ĎIí in any of this. Thereís no one person holding it up and if it is, then itís a problem. Thatís a major problem if weíre all relying on one person. Itís the product on the race track. Itís the product and the environment of the weekend. This is an event. This isnít one race. This is an event weekend that youíre asking people to come camp and spend their hard-earned money and enjoy our sport of NASCAR. This isnít one driver. This isnít one team. It isnít one anything. Itís an event for us all to have fun and enjoy a weekend and this sport that we all love. Itís just as simple as that."

WHAT ABOUT FAN INTERACTION? "I think we have to get better in all those things. Like I said, it was important for me to point out the things that I saw at Watkins Glen. We all have seen the decline at some places and tracks. Hey, itís a performance-driven business. If youíre not doing your job, itís time to go somewhere else. That comes from drivers or anything else. Everything is driven off performance and anything in life. There have been a lot of jabs thrown over the week and I guess thatís my comment for that. There are different ways to judge all performance, whether thatís on the race track, how you build a program around your brand off the race track, how you provide support for your organization and everything else with sponsorship. You canít just go out and do a good job driving. You have to be the total package - youíre attractive and it doesnít matter. If you do that, the supply is there for the demand."

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