CHEVROLET NCS AT DAYTONA 500 MEDIA DAY – Alex Bowman Media Availability Quotes

If a Ford or Toyota is behind you in the Duels, are you going to get nervous because they have a new car?

“Yeah, I think those are just situations we have to learn from. Talladega (Superspeedway), for example – I could accept pushes really well from Chevrolet’s, and then when I tried to lead the top lane and accept pushes from the No. 4, I was out of control. So it’s kind of the opposite of what you would think with how flat that nose was versus ours.

I think with new cars from other manufacturers, you just have to get pushed to learn and know how our cars are going to react. So it’s just things we’re going to have to learn through the Duels, through practice and then through the Daytona 500.”

Obviously winning the pole is a big thing here and you have several of them. Do you guys have any internal bets or fun stuff going on that we don’t know about on who gets the next one?

“Obviously it’s really important for Mr. Hendrick and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. It’s bragging rights, right? They can show who built the fastest car coming down here. So yeah, looking forward to hopefully having a shot at it. Obviously have no clue what to expect, but we want the pole for Mr. H and everybody at Chevrolet.”

You talk about how important that is, as far as the process of switching over from the qualifying to the race. With standardized parts with the Next Gen car, do you have to give up something for the race in order to maximize qualifying, or is it case where practice afterwards lends you to make the changes that you need to make?

“Yeah, I don’t think you give up anything for the 500, but you do give up things for the Duel, for sure. I think last year, I thought my car was going to drive OK. I made it to like turn four on the first lap before I realized my car was not going to drive OK. You definitely give things up for the Duel, but you can get that all back out of it for the 500. Hopefully we’re on the front-row tonight, but if not, we’ll go from there.”

It’s been quite a while that a Hendrick Motorsports car has gone to victory lane in the Daytona 500. How much have you heard about that, if at all, within the organization?

“It’s been 10 years, right? So definitely want to change that. I want to be the guy that changes that, but want to put Hendrick Motorsports in the best position with all four of our cars to get there. The Daytona 500 is a huge deal and we want to go get a trophy.”

With this being Hendrick Motorsports’ 40th anniversary, obviously every season you want to win and do the best you can, but how especially important would it be to go out and have a great season this year?

“Yeah, I think after last year, I selfishly want to go run well for me. The 40th anniversary season, it’s awesome to be a small part of it and I know it means a lot to Mr. Hendrick, Jeff (Gordon) and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. But for me, I just want to go win races and run well for me and my team.”

Joey Logano just said – what’s good about this sport is that there’s an end point and a start point, so if things didn’t go well, you have to stop and try to regroup and come back. Is that the benefit of being able to sweep away last year and hope improves this year?

“Yeah, for sure. We had a lot go on last year throughout the year, so kind of being able to reset from that I think is good for us. I think our team is in a great spot – a couple of changes and I’m in a really good spot heading into this year. Looking forward to getting to work. These first two races are a bit interesting – a lot can happen that’s outside of your control. But we’re going to go control the things we can and try to make the most of those things and move on.”

Did your accident change your perspective – are we going to see you, at least for a while, be away from racing your dirt cars and focus on being a team owner?

“Yeah, for me, it just came down to – sprint car racing was kind of a hobby for me and something that I really enjoy. I love winged sprint car racing, non-wing sprint car racing, midget racing.. all of it is great and obviously have great support from Ally on that. My hobby started to get in the way of my job, which was not optimal. So for me, I can’t just sprint car race – financially, it doesn’t make any sense to do something that is getting in the way of your job. So just trying to be smart about it. Obviously I want to be a part of sprint car racing for a long time, just not driving them right now.”

Do you physically feel fresher and better than you did, say, at the end of the year last year?

“Yeah, I think so. With how my injury worked, it’s still something I’m going to feel forever. But I think the reset was good. I think being able to kind of catch back up on things was good. Get back into the gym and kind of physically catchup to where I was at pre-injury was super important. I feel really good. I worked super hard this offseason and overcame some things throughout the offseason even and I feel like I’m in a really good spot.”

You’re entering your second year with Blake Harris (crew chief). What are the things that you feel like you learned from him in year one and what are you looking forward to doing with him in year two?

“Yeah, I think just knowing that we were able to continue to work well together through a lot of adversity and work through all of those things were really important. I’m looking forward to just having a complete, full, clean season with him this year in our second season together.”

Is there any one specific track that kind of stands out to you as a place where you’re looking to make a mark?

“I think going back to Las Vegas is really important for us. It’s been one of my better racetracks throughout the course of the years, and just looking forward to trying to make up for last fall, for sure.”

What do you hope to learn in the Duels tomorrow night?

“Last year, Blake (Harris) said my car would probably drive pretty good in the Duel and I made it to turn four before I realized it was not driving pretty good.. it was driving pretty terrible (laughs). And it is the No. 48 car down here in Daytona on qualifying night, so I kind of have an idea of what tomorrow night could be like if we’re not on the front-row. Hopefully we end up on the front-row and don’t have to worry about it much because I don’t think it’s setup for tomorrow night, but we’ll get it dialed in for Sunday. Honestly, if we’re not on the front-row, we’re going to do all we can throughout the race to start as far up as we possibly can.”