Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip post race Q&A on incident

 

Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip post race Q&A on incident

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Published in Sprint Cup Series News
Sunday, 11 November 2012 20:50
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Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip post race Q&A on incident Getty Images

CLINT BOWYER, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing Finishing Position:  28th

What happened between you and Jeff Gordon?

"I mean the racing -- it's just a shame.  The last person in the world you want to get into anything with is Jeff Gordon on the race track.  I mean, you're down there racing, the track's extremely slick, we're all on tires -- I didn't even need to pass him.  That's the thing.  All I was doing is riding around biding my time.  The only thing I had to do is keep the 5 car (Kasey Kahne) within reach, so for him to act like that -- I mean, I barely touched him and then I feel him get into turn three and try to turn me and he missed and then next thing I know Brett's (Griffin, spotter) telling me on the radio that he's trying to -- he's waiting on me.  It's pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion -- and what I consider one of the best this sport's ever seen -- to act like that is just completely ridiculous."

What did NASCAR say when you met them after the race?

"I don't know.  There's nothing you can do to fix it now.  It's over with.  You've got to go on to Homestead (-Miami Speedway).  I've got to try to beat the 5 car (Kasey Kahne), but I mean that was my opportunity to try to get myself back in the championship hunt.  When you're disrupting a championship run like that, it's too bad.  They asked us not to do that in the driver's meeting and there's usually a lot of respect there.  Like I said, it's crazy -- I didn't even need to pass him.  I was plenty content riding behind him and he slipped up down there, I get under him and here he comes back.  I just barely

touched him.  I literally barely rubbed him and then all the sudden I feel him trying to retaliate and -- I don't know -- missed or something and hit the wall and made himself look like a fool."

Will you retaliate?

"We just have to see."

Did Jeff Gordon say anything to you in the meeting with NASCAR after the race?

"Not really -- it's pretty soon to be talking to him (Jeff Gordon)."

Should NASCAR penalize Jeff Gordon?

"You guys have been covering this sport a long time.  Same circumstances happened -- what was it, last year or year before and disrupted a championship and I don't understand how that's any different.  Like I said, it's over with and done and have to go to Homestead (-Miami Speedway) and do the best we can."

MICHAEL WALTRIP, owner, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What did you see happen between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon?

"I've never seen anything like what Jeff Gordon did to a guy racing for a championship.  Cowardly, chicken move by someone that has raced for championships before, and knows how important every position is.  They barely brushed on the back straightaway and he waits -- he purposely waits and tells everybody he's waiting and wrecks our car and our hopes for racing for a championship.  I'm beside myself.  I can't believe that he would get involved in the championship battle."

What happened in the garage after the incident?

"We're just trying to keep everybody calm.  It's just a lot of emotion -- a lot of guys that have way more time and effort invested than the act that Jeff Gordon took to take care of a problem.  What a -- I just don't know what to say.  I'm beside myself to think that that could happen."

After Jimmie Johnson's 'issue' did you believe your team was racing for a championship?

"Yeah, we were in there still."

Did you expect NASCAR to issue any penalties?

"I don't know what to expect.  I can't believe that someone would purposely wait and crash a guy racing for a championship. Everything else was just pushing and shoving and wasn't any big deal.  If you focus on what happened on the track, that's where the story is -- not someone trying to make something out of some guys pushing each other."

Why did the No. 15 crew react the way they did after the incident?

"It's just boys venting, showing their frustration trying to express their feelings.  The men and women that work on these cars have way more invested in what goes on than people realize and people appreciate and when a coward makes a move like that on the race track they just see all their hopes and dreams go up in flames, literally -- they're going to be frustrated."

BRIAN PATTIE, crew chief, No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing

What caused the incident between Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon?

"I don't know.  All I know is we were running top-five there and 24 (Jeff Gordon) kind of went up there.  I don't know. We must have got into him and he retaliated -- so we'll see what happens here.  Post-race got a little exciting.  Obviously, it doesn't look like there's too many Christmas cards going back and forth from the 15 (Clint Bowyer) and the 24."

How do you expect NASCAR to react?

"Well, if they're consistent, they'll park him.  They parked the 18 truck (Kyle Busch) at (Texas) -- when they retaliated. We'll see what happens.  I like to be consistent.  I try to be as fair as I can, so hopefully they are too."

Toyota Racing PR

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