BOWMAN ON THE STATUS OF HIS BACK INJURY:
“I don’t have a time for an estimated return. I have a doctor’s appointment this week to get some more x-rays to see how it’s healing and we’ll go from there. I’m obviously mobile. Super fortunate that the injury wasn’t any worse than it was. Obviously a lot of people have had that flat landing in a sprint car and have been hurt much worse than I was. I’ll heal up and come back when I can.”
IS THE ALL-STAR RACE ON THE TABLE STILL?
“I don’t know.. it’s hard to answer that without seeing what the x-ray says this week. Really – I’m not a doctor, so I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about right – but I haven’t have an x-ray since the injury. So until we do that and see how it’s healing, I just don’t know.”
DO YOU LOOK AT HOW YOU’RE FEELING AND IF YOU’RE IN A LOT OF PAIN OR NOT? ARE YOU WATCHING THE RACES AND ARE YOU DOING THINGS TO PUSH YOURSELF TO SEE HOW YOUR BODY IS READY?
“Yeah, I would say the most painful thing for me is laughing, coughing, sneezing or trying to sleep. Like laying down hurts pretty bad. Standing up and walking around isn’t so bad. I’ve been able to walk the whole time, so that’s been nice. I’ve kind of kept myself busy. This week, I was able to get back into the gym a little bit, which was really good because not working out for a couple weeks is like the worst thing in the world for me. They have these air bands that kind of pump up around your muscles so you can work out with really light weights and still get a good workout from it. I was doing curls with five-pound weights. Typically I do 10’s, so five’s was a good workout for me.”
WHAT’S THE MENTAL SIDE FOR YOU? HOW ARE YOU DEALING WITH IT MENTALLY BEING OUT OF YOUR RACECAR?
“It sucks. It sucks really bad, but it’s pretty self-inflicted. It was my choice to go sprint car racing and I knew what I was signing up for. Yeah, it really sucks being out outside of the racecar. But everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has been super supportive, as well as everybody at Ally. I got to spend some time with the people from Ally this week. Definitely sucks not being in the car though.”
WILL YOU BE CONTINUING TO DO SPRINT CAR RACING ONCE YOU GET HEALTHY?
“I don’t know.. that’s a tough decision. For me, at some point, yes. I just don’t know when that point will be. Obviously sitting out of the car again when I was really recently out of the car last year isn’t good for me. It’s not the money or anything.. I want to win Cup races and I don’t like sitting out. At some point, yeah I will get back into a sprint car and a midget, for sure. I just don’t know when that point will be.”
HAVE YOU BEEN IN A SIMULATOR OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT AT THIS POINT, OR CAN YOU NOT SIT DOWN IN THAT POSITION THAT LONG?
“I could probably be in a simulator fine. I would say that pulling my belts tight would probably hurt. Like if I had to drive a racecar today - every time they dropped the jack, like that’s what would hurt. Sitting, I can do… it’s the impact stuff. Like driving down the road, you hit a bump and it sucks. Coughing or sneezing, kind of like that jarring movement, is what hurts for me.”
IF THE SCAN COMES BACK AND THE DOCTOR SAYS ‘WE THINK YOU CAN RACE’, ARE YOU FOR SURE GOING TO RACE OR IS THERE ANY SORT OF PAIN TOLERANCE OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT WOULD DETERMINE IF YOU RACE OR NOT?
“I don’t know until I talk to the doctor. But if the doctor is like ‘yeah, you’re healthy enough to race’, I think for me, I just have to go get in a car; probably do some pit stops, maybe drive around a parking lot and go from there.”
WHEN ARE YOU MEETING WITH THE DOCTOR?
“I think my appointment is Wednesday of this week. So, we’ll see from there, but hopefully it’s good news.”
HAVE YOU TALKED TO ARIC ALMIROLA AT ALL ABOUT HIS PROCESS AND WHAT HE WENT THROUGH?
“I really haven’t. I feel like anybody that I have talked to that has broken their back, it’s all been way more serious than me. So for me, I fractured T-3. It’s really high and I haven’t been in a brace because it’s so high. They could brace my neck, but then I’d probably be in more pain from the neck brace than anything. I’m in pain, but I can still do everything. Just super fortunate. I haven’t talked to Aric (Almirola), but I watched his Race Hub interview and it sounded like he was in quite a bit worse shape than me, as far as pain-wise. Just fortunate that I’m not that bad.”
OBVIOUSLY, YOUR HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, BUT HOW MUCH DOES NOT BEING IN THE RACE, WATCHING THE OPPORTUNITY TO WIN RACES AND PLAYOFF RACES GO AWAY, DO FOR YOU COME PLAYOFF TIME?
“Yeah, you look at the races I missed the first two weeks. Statistically, Dover and Kansas are the best places for me by a mile, so it’s a huge bummer. Mentally to sit there and just watch – I mean how good the No. 48 ran at Dover, just knowing that I feel like I’m really good there, that’s my best race track and how good we could have been. And then kind of the same at Kansas. I love that race track, as well.
So yeah, missed out on a lot of points, but that’s on me. I decided to go sprint car racing. I’m a big boy.. it’s on me. There’s nobody to blame. Just have to get healthy and makeup for it when I can come back.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’VE KIND OF THROWN AWAY YOUR SEASON?
“I don’t think so. We’re still in the playoffs right now in points where we sit. You look at what Kyle Busch has done and what other guys have done post-injury. It sucks, right? It’s not where I want to be, especially with the season that we were having. But I know we can be as strong as we were before I got hurt when I come back.”
JEFF ANDREWS SAID THAT THEY WOULD KIND OF RE-EVALUATE THEIR POLICIES ON WHAT YOU CAN DO OUTSIDE OF THE TRACK. IF THEY SAID YOU CAN’T GO SPRINT CAR RACING, WOULD YOU TRY TO FIGHT THAT?
“Nobody has really said anything to me. I’m super appreciative to be at Hendrick Motorsports. I’m going to do whatever they are comfortable with and supportive on. Obviously I’ve really enjoyed sprint car racing in the last year. INAUDIBLE…
I don’t know.. we’ll just have to wait and see, and cross that bridge once we come to it.”
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO DO ANYTHING THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS THAT HASN’T HURT?
“Yeah, I’ve done a lot of things that hasn’t hurt. Getting back into the gym last week was really good. Those bands are crazy. Like I guess it cuts off all the circulation and kind of gives you a workout with really light weights from that. That, to me, that’s kind of what I’m doing for therapy. It’s not technically physical therapy, but just kind of getting back moving.
Yeah, it’s been good. For the most part of the day, I’m not in that much pain, honestly. Laying down is probably the worst pain.”
WHAT WAS THAT PHONE CALL LIKE FOR YOU TO MAKE AND WHO DID YOU TALK TO?
“Yeah, I talked to about everybody while I was laying in the hospital in Iowa. I thought I was fixing to get yelled at, but I think the sympathy of the pain that I was in helped out (laughs). Everybody has been super supportive, so just appreciative of that because they had every opportunity to be pretty mad at me. Glad they weren’t and glad they’ve been nothing but supportive. You never want to make that call and let your team down like that. But at that point, there was nothing I could do. It had happened, it’s done. Just have to move forward from it.”
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO GET TIME IN A VEHICLE, ESPECIALLY IN THIS ERA NOW WHERE YOU DON’T GET MUCH TRACK TIME IN A CUP CAR?
“Yeah, it’s super important. For me, it was also a lot of fun and kind of a way to unplug and go do something fun. I think it’s a pretty well-known fact how stressful the Cup garage is, right? Every mistake you make is highly publicized. You get to hear about it from everybody. Everybody expects perfection. You can go race other stuff and it’s low pressure. It’s kind of like it was growing up, so I enjoy that aspect of it and just to be able to go have fun. I do feel like it helped me in the Cup car. It slowed things down. Obviously it’s hard to say if we were having such a good year because I was racing so much, but we had the best average finish of anybody at the time I got hurt. Without a penalty, we would have been one-point out of the (points) lead at the time. We had a really good season going and hopefully we can pick up where we left off.”