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January 23, 2019

Clint Bowyer

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for joining us today in advance of the start of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. We're now joined by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer, driver of the No.14 Ford for Stewart‑Haas Racing. Clint, thank you so much for taking some time to spend with us this afternoon. Looks like you had a really exciting off‑season. We saw you spent some time with your family, attended some football games, went skiing. Can you tell us a little bit about how your off‑season was and how you're shifting focus to the Daytona 500?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, the off‑season is always exciting time for everybody. You get the holidays to spend time with family that you've missed all year long while we've been chasing this dream of racing, and been fortunate enough to do a lot of fun things in the off‑season. We went skiing, as you said, just got back from a skiing trip to Colorado. It was beautiful. It was great snow. Stopped and watched my Chiefs. Man, we lost, but we gave them a hell of a battle. Watched several Chiefs games. It's been fun.
It's been a lot of fun to be a fan, you know. I mean, that's the crazy thing about it is no different than our fans in NASCAR, you become attached to individuals, to people. Usually for me it's all through a relationship or something else makes you really want to pull for somebody. It's been no exception with the Chiefs this year. They all came out to Kansas Speedway and rooted us on doing what we do, and certainly showed up and showed the same respect to them.

Q. I had two questions, Clint. How much time have you spent as far as the off‑season getting acquainted with Daniel Suárez, your new teammate, and what has he told you or shared with you about his experience with the new rules package at the tire test out at Fontana?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, to be honest with you, I didn't really have an opportunity to get to know Daniel a lot before he signed on to be a teammate of mine at Stewart‑Haas Racing, but since his test, we actually went to Mobil 1 appearance and a Peak appearance down in Texas, so we got to fly together and chat about his experience in the car so far with the new package and everything else. It's hard to communicate with him a little bit. I always thought I was excited and got excited in conversations. People have told me slow down. I had to say, hey, Daniel, slow down, I'm way too country for all this.
But man, it's fun to be around kids like that that are full of talent, full of piss and vinegar. He's set on kill. He's excited about his opportunity, as he should be. He's in good equipment. I know the equipment he's going to be sitting in, the team that he's going to be with. They were on fire last year with Billy Scott and all those guys. He's got a good future ahead of him for this year. I'm excited for him.

Q. I just wondered just kind of your expectations going into the season just generally speaking?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, to be dead honest with you, generally speaking, I don't know what to expect. I don't think anybody can expect too much right now or know what to expect. I'm going to a test in Vegas out here next week. I'm looking forward to going out there and getting, I guess, that idea of the expectations going into the season under my belt firsthand. Of course I just said Daniel Suárez, my teammate, has been out to California and had a test with our Stewart Haas Ford Mustangs, but firsthand, I don't really know what to expect.
This is a drastic rule change. The face of our sport is going to be different. Time will tell what opinions are made, and certainly I'll form my opinion when that time comes. Testing is one thing. It'll be, what, 14, 15 cars out there next week. When you get out there with 40, it's a whole different story.
Looking forward to the test next week, as I said, but definitely looking forward to once you get out of Daytona 500‑‑ Daytona is always going to be Daytona. Daytona and Talladega are always going to be restrictor plate tracks. Time will tell whether these other mile‑and‑a‑halfs become restrictor plate tracks.

Q. About the Chiefs, you were at the game on Sunday; what's it like being on the other side as far as being a fan as opposed to being in the right competition?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, first and foremost, thanks to Brett Veach. He came out with all of his football players to the Kansas Speedway and watched us do our things at Kansas Speedway and supported NASCAR. He's a big race fan. I had no idea the race fan that was within him. And ever since then, he's stayed in touch through the playoffs. There's a text here and there rooting me on and saying he was pulling for me. Man, it was just‑‑ the friendship began, and obviously over the years since I was a little kid, everybody grows up going to the Chiefs games. The year that they had was just unbelievable, obviously the difference that Mahomes has made. But it's a total package. Andy Reid is on fire, Tyreek Hill, it's literally a highlight reel every single week. It was a lot of fun. A lot of pride to live in North Carolina here, and every time you flipped on a sports channel you were watching the highlight reels from the Chiefs games.

Q. You mentioned Daniel Suárez and just him coming into Stewart‑Haas. What does he bring to the table that's going to help you guys throughout the season in trying to get your championship here?
CLINT BOWYER: Yeah, you've got to have‑‑ the strength comes with numbers in our sport, and having four cars is such a powerful thing, the difference that Aric Almirola brought in and making that fourth car real. And what I mean by that is as you're going through practice sessions, as you're going through changes and decisions and making those decisions with the setup one way or another, to be able to have the confidence in what he's saying and the lap times to back it up gives you a lot of confidence in a decision to go that way if that opportunity is there, and certainly that opportunity is going to be there having Daniel in that fourth car just like it was with Kurt in it or anybody else. It's important for all of us to get Daniel caught up, up to speed on everything, and we'll all benefit from that, Kevin, myself, Aric, everybody at Stewart‑Haas will benefit on him being up to speed as soon as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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