Clint Bowyer: A chat prior to qualifying

Clint Bowyer just outside the media center at Infineon Raceway
Credit: Lindi Bess for Skirts and Scuffs
On Friday afternoon prior to qualifying for the Toyota Save Mart 350, I had the opportunity to meet with Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerio's/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet. This was just after he appeared in the media center. I wanted to ask Clint, who will start from the ninth position for Sunday's race, about his success at Infineon compared to WGI (Watkins Glen International) and his thoughts on whether or not there should be a road course race in the Chase.

LB: You have three top 10s at Sonoma in five starts compared to one top 10 at Watkins Glen. What is it about Sonoma that works for you more so than WGI?
CB: Good question. If I knew that answer I would have it fixed. It’s always been that way. (When) I’m here, I feel very comfortable. I always run well here and it’s always been that way. Ever since my first laps on this track I was like "aw man, I got it. I get it, you know?” Go to Watkins, I’m like a duck out of water.

LB: Some people have complained about there not being a road course race in the Chase. Would you like to see one added to the schedule later in the year and if so, do you think it would change the whole dynamic of the Chase?

CB: You know, not really. I think it’s perfect the way it is. Ultimately, there’s just two of them. They don’t make up enough of our series to be a part of the Chase. I think you need to have what makes up the series to a part of that chase. You know they shake it up enough with Talladega being in there. There’s a wild card race or two in there with short tracks and the big intermediate tracks, superspeedway tracks. I just don’t think there’s room for that. It’s too prestigious of thing to be racing against for something like a road course. There’s just so many things are out of your control that can happen throughout the course of that race to be a part of that.

LB: In the last four races at Sonoma, the winner got their first road course win ever (in Sprint Cup). How optimistic are you that you'll be the next one in that pattern on Sunday?

CB: Man I hope, but there’s a lot that goes into it. You really have to hit your marks and do everything right and if you do it could be us.

LB: What’s your greatest challenge coming to a road course as opposed to an oval track?

CB: (Laughing) Just right-handers.

LB: Where do you look to pass on this track?
CB: Anywhere I can. You know anywhere that they are slow and I’m not.

LB: How do you practice for Infineon's right-hand turns, and elevation changes?
CB: You don’t. You just show up and feel it out.

LB: Typically Infineon has lots of crashes, lots of spins, and plenty of bumping and grinding. What is your strategy going in and is qualifying the key?
CB: I think qualifying is part of it but it always comes down to the end. I think forward bite, having good grip throughout the whole race is key. You know the green-white-checkered restarts, double file restarts that’s the biggest thing. You’ve gotta be able to get through those quick

I want to thank Clint for giving me a few minutes of his time.

The No. 33 team and the Cheerios Chevy Impala head onto track
Clint Bowyer: A chat prior to qualifying Clint Bowyer: A chat prior to qualifying Reviewed by Lindi Bess on Saturday, June 25, 2011 Rating: 5