THE MODERATOR: We’ll go ahead and get started with our post-race press conference. We welcome Clint Bowyer, who finished third in today’s race.
Clint, talk a little bit about the race out there today.
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, it was a long, hard-fought battle for our team. We were just off. From the start of the race, I was too loose, too tight in the middle. You know when you have that problem, you’re in for a long day because the minute you fix one, you make the other one worse. You get what you got. So you got to make the best out of it.
We were able to chase some air pressures around, but fundamentally we were a little off. Good call by Brian, everybody took tires, take four. I got aggressive there, got on the inside and got past a lot of cars and kind of put us in position to put two tires on the next stop, keep the track position and stay up front.
Good teamwork all around. Feels good to have a solid weekend after a couple bad weekends. Humbling sport. You go from a win, crashed out, back to the podium. Good timing.
THE MODERATOR: We’ll take questions for Clint.
Q. Clint, here today we have a new tire that was brought. What was your thoughts about running this kind of tire?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, this track is hard to pass anyway. It’s hard to roll the center better than the next guy and turn underneath somebody when they have that middle line, the preferred line, because of the banking. On the bottom line, not enough banking to complete the pass unless you’re really a lot better than them. That less stagger just makes it harder to roll the center. Ultimately I think the less stagger just brought out less passing.
Q. Clint, the whole wild card race, I know you’ve been involved in trying to go for that before. This time of year, that’s more exciting than ever. Kahne put him in position.
CLINT BOWYER: When I look at those wild card guys that are running, Kasey, the Hendrick organization, doesn’t matter who is in the car, is capable of multiple wins. You know going in if he’s a guy you’re racing for a wild card spot, you better be on your game, making some gambles, taking some risks because they’re too good of an organization to outrun, especially in a situation when they’re not going to points their way in, they have to win their way in.
Even me, I only have one win. He was a guy that I kind of knew had potential to win two and take one of those wild card spots.
Q. For you personally, pretty good day because you put some more space between you and 11th and 12th. Is it too early to worry about that right now?
CLINT BOWYER: It’s never too early to worry about points, unfortunately. We’re talking about points in Daytona. Got to have a good points day so we can get the year started off on the right foot. The almighty point is so important in this sport to making that Chase, because without the Chase you can win three races and have a great season, have a couple engine failures or something like that, put you out of that shot at a championship, then find yourself that last 10 races making more points than anybody, not having a shot at it.
Luckily we haven’t seen that yet. We almost saw that last year with Stewart. If he wouldn’t have made the Chase, he still probably would have went on and won that championship. How big would that have been?
Q. Looking ahead a couple weeks to Indy, that whole schedule is different this year. What do you think of that? Do you like that or not?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, we don’t do anything till Saturday. As long as I don’t have to be there till Saturday, I love it. Probably have to be there Thursday and not do anything until Saturday.
I don’t like these night races where we practice on Friday, sit around all day, Friday night, all day Saturday with nothing, then race Saturday. I’d rather either do it all in one day or take two days. But the three-day deal is too much.
Q. Clint, I haven’t seen the points, but you were 26 or 30 ahead of Carl. It seems if you’re in the top 10 right now, you’re safe. Do you feel as if the top 10, I don’t know how many races to go now, is looking pretty set for Chase consideration?
CLINT BOWYER: No, not until we go to Richmond until you’re in, put one of them Chase hats on, that’s when the pressure quits.
Hopefully we’ll be far enough ahead. Before then you don’t have to worry about it. I’ve been on that bubble before going into Richmond. It’s nerve-wracking times. It is what it is. That’s what makes this sport what it is. What makes this Chase so important, it’s a big deal involved with everybody, sponsors, our race team, everybody involved, it’s very, very important.
Q. Clint, you asked during the course of the race to Brian Pattie if you brought the same setup you had at Martinsville. Even though you started out really fast, it seems like you lost handling pretty quick in the run. What was the thing he talked about you guys were going to do what the 2 did on Saturday, take their strategy?
CLINT BOWYER: Well, I mean, you do what you have to do. Pattie does a great job at calling races, probably the best I ever had at calling races, using strategy to get in the fight at the end. We put four tires on when everybody put two on. I got pretty aggressive there to be on the bottom, got around a lot of cars. That enabled us to put two on the next caution, get gone before Denny and the rest of these guys run us down.
Just a great team effort. That’s what it takes, is team chemistry. I feel like we keep getting better and better at that with a young group with every week.
THE MODERATOR: Clint, thank you very much. Congratulations on your run today.