chevy racing–nascar–pocono–alex bowman


ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CHEVYGOODS.COM CAMARO ZL1 1LE, spoke with media via teleconference to discuss going into the first doubleheader race weekend in NASCAR history at Pocono Raceway, what it takes to be successful at Pocono, and more. Transcript:  THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THE FORMAT FOR THIS WEEKEND. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS GOING INTO SATURDAY’S RACE AT SUCH A UNIQUE TRACK WITH NO PRACTICE?“Yeah, for sure. I feel like Pocono is one of the places that probably takes the most time to kind of get up to speed and to get rolling. So, not having any practice will probably be pretty unique and the guys with a lot of experience there will maybe have a little advantage on the guys that don’t have a ton of races there. But, I’m looking forward to it. I think the format is neat. I’m all for no practice. We’re supposed to be the best at what we do, so I don’t know that we need the amount of practice that we used to have on normal weekends. I’m enjoying the no practice thing and I’m ready to go.”
I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT BRISTOL AND MOVING THE ALL-STAR RACE TO THAT TRACK. CAN YOU EXPAND ON THAT?“I’m a little bummed – we were really, really good at Charlotte for the first two races. We led a lot of laps and let two of those get away from us. I really felt like we had a really good shot at winning a million dollars and we still have a good shot at it going to Bristol. But Charlotte was really, really good for us. We didn’t have the finishes that we deserved, but had some really fast racecars. Going to Bristol, we were OK at the beginning of that race and then everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong for us. We had a calamity of errors take us out that day. So, I don’t really know what to expect going there. But I think we’ll be pretty good. The atmosphere there is awesome and it sounds like they’re going to have a good amount of fans there, so that will be really good. Charlotte was going to be good to us, so hopefully our Bristol car is every bit as good.”
DO YOU HAVE ANY INTEREST IN EXPANDING YOUR OWNERSHIP DUTIES ON THE DIRT SIDE?“If somebody else wants to pay for it, yeah I’m all in (laughs). That stuff costs a lot of money. The one race I do a year costs enough.”
TOYOTA HAS WON THE LAST FIVE RACES AT POCONO, WITH JOE GIBBS RACING’S KYLE BUSCH WINNING THREE OF THEM, DENNY HAMLIN TAKING HIS FIFTH CHECKERED FLAG AT THE TRACK IN JULY. WHAT DO YOU THINK HENDRICK HAS FOR IT AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE TOYOTA’S AND YOU THINK ‘WOW, THEY’RE PRETTY GOOD THERE’ – I KNOW THAT DOESN’T INTIMIDATE YOU.“I’m not scared (laughs). I think our cars are much better at that style of race track than we have been in the past couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting there. I think our intermediate stuff and our big race track stuff has been really strong this year. Obviously, Pocono is its own thing and completely different than anywhere else we go, but at least the most similar places we go, we’ve been really strong at. So, I’m looking forward to it. I think we can be really strong. I guess we don’t know until we start the race, right? But I think we’ll be really good.”
WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR A DRIVER THERE? IT’S HARD TO BELIEVE KEVIN HARVICK HASN’T WON AT POCONO. IT’S ONE OF THE FEW TRACKS HE HASN’T WON AT. DOES THAT SURPRISE YOU? AND THEN YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT IT TAKES FOR A DRIVER TO BE GOOD AT POCONO.“Yeah, that is pretty surprising. I didn’t realize he hadn’t won there. I think for a driver to be good there, your commitment level has to be really high. Especially now with this rules package, it’s really on edge. You have some guys that commit to it and run it wide open. It’s really, really uncomfortable and hard to do throughout the race. I think that’s become an added element to it, just how high your commitment level has to be for the tunnel turn. But then really just knowing what you need to split the balance between three completely different corners and knowing how to get the car there is really important.”
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED MONDAY WAS YOU AND BUBBA (WALLACE) HAD A NICE MOMENT – YOU TWEETED A VIDEO OF IT ON YOUR PAGE. CONSIDERING EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENED BETWEEN YOU GUYS, HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? OBVIOUSLY, EVERYONE HAS BEEN TRYING TO SHOW SUPPORT, BUT CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THAT?“Yeah, I think there’s no secret, we’re not best friends, right? We’ve had our fair share of run-ins and the on-track stuff is just going to happen – tempers are going to flare and if you run into the same guy a couple of weeks in a row here and there, it’s not going to go great for your relationship. But that’s as a racecar driver and that’s on the race track. As a human-being, I have a big appreciation for him pushing us all to be better, speaking up and us do the same. It really comes down to, on the race track, we’re probably not going to be friends. But as a person, I appreciate what he’s doing and just wanted to show my support for him.” 
WITH TWO RACES HEADING TO POCONO THIS WEEKEND, WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO HELP YOUR CREW CHIEF GET THAT CAR PREPARED FOR SUNDAY DEPENDING ON WHAT HAPPENS ON SATURDAY?“Yeah, that’s a big depending on Saturday thing. The Cup cars especially are so fragile – really hard to keep clean. You can’t lean on each other without really tearing the car up in a big way. Trying to keep the car clean on Saturday is going to be really important. And then also, having a good understanding of where the race car was at the end of the race to know what we need to be better on Sunday is going to probably be the biggest way I can help Greg (Ives, crew chief).”
IN THE EARLY PORTIONS OF YOUR CUP CAREER, HOW DIFFERENT IS THE LEARNING CURVE AT POCONO RACEWAY COMPARED TO EVERY OTHER TRACK? WHAT ASPECTS OF THE TRACK HAVE YOU COME TO APPRECIATE VERSUS THE ASPECTS THAT CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE YOU?“I think the learning curve was probably a little bigger when I first started going to Pocono than it is going now, just because you were shifting every corner. That was a big difference. There weren’t any other ovals that we shift at, so just figuring that out. I didn’t run Trucks and Xfinity didn’t race there. I had some ARCA races there, but you didn’t shift. It was just different in a Cup car. Now, it’s a little more normal without that shift. The tunnel turn is still really, really tricky and knowing how to build runs. It’s pretty hard to pass – dirty air is pretty tough there. But then if you mess up, the straightaways are super long and you’re going to have five guys blow your doors off. The track itself is tricky, but it’s probably a little easier now than it used to be without shifting and all that.”
YOU TALKED ABOUT YOU AND BUBBA (WALLACE) NOT BEING THE CLOSEST FRIENDS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE BUBBA RACES PEOPLE TOO HARD BECAUSE OF THE EQUIPMENT HE’S IN? “No, I mean I think everybody races different. You have guys that race really hard and you have guys that if you catch them, let you go. And some guys don’t let you go and are going to race hard for every spot. I think Bubba and I just ran into each other quite a few times back-to-back-to-back. He crashed me a couple of times in a Xfinity car and an East car, and then I got into him at the Roval. We’ve had so many incidents on the race track – race car drivers end up remembering everything. I don’t know, I think that was just a situational thing where we had run into each other so many times – it’s hard to like somebody that you’ve wrecked with like five times, right (laughs).”

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