THE MODERATOR: Our Daytona 500 polesitter, Alex Bowman.
We’ll take questions for Alex.
- Is this talked about, the streak, the importance of keeping this streak alive, wanting to maintain a spot in the front row?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for me it’s a really interesting thing to be a part of because I have so little to do with it, right? Like obviously once you get five, man, it would be really cool to have six. Next year I’ll be like, Man, it will be really cool to have seven.
At the same time it’s way more about my guys and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. Just appreciative for all their hard work, the time and effort, whether it’s the engine shop or all the guys in the car shop. There’s a ton of effort that goes into trying to qualify well here. Most of it’s on their end. So definitely really appreciative.
- They mentioned on the telecast it looked like you were going on a different line, higher through the corners. Is that true? That seems like a driver initiative to get more speed.
ALEX BOWMAN: I don’t really feel like I tried to do anything different than the other guys. Just try to kind of let the race car go where it wants and not bind it up.
As a driver, really all you can do is get the best launch you can, hit your shift points right, try to run the best you can, not mess it up.
Yeah, glad I didn’t mess it up. I was kind of just letting the race car go where it wanted to.
- You say you have so little to do with this. Does it ever get old after six times in a row?
ALEX BOWMAN: It’s really good to see it here. Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t get old by any means. It’s so special to be a part of. Just really thankful for the opportunity.
Definitely want more, but I think it’s on that guy sitting over there. I petition that he’s got to do the media availability tomorrow for three hours of calls. I think that’s going to be on him (smiling).
- Everybody wondered what it was going to be like having a new face come in atop the pit box after the success you had with Greg. What has this been like working with Blake?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, man, he’s just really annoying. He texts me all the time. Pretty awful.
No, it’s been really fun. Enjoyed working with him a lot. It’s been cool to get to know each other more. We have common interests with the open-wheel dirt stuff. Just spending some time together during this off-season. Obviously trying to be ready to go for this season has been a lot of fun.
We started off well at the Clash. Obviously tonight. But there’s a long season to go. I’m really looking forward to it.
- You get trophies for the pole. Do you keep all the trophies anywhere?
ALEX BOWMAN: I think I have the pole trophies, but I don’t have the second-place trophies because you get a trophy for the front row as well. Yeah, they’re in my office. They’re all together.
Yeah, it’s a cool one to have, right? It says Daytona 500 on it. It’s a trophy. It may not be the big one, but it’s still not a bad one to have.
- You did so much simulator work. Did you do tons and tons of laps at Daytona? Could that possibly be why you’re so good in qualifying here?
ALEX BOWMAN: You can’t tell everybody my secret like that (smiling). I can’t believe you’d call me out.
No, I don’t even know if the simulator has Daytona. If it does, well, it did for the road course stuff. But, yeah, I’ve never run speedway sim stuff.
I would love to be able to sit here and take a little bit of credit. I feel like my launch was okay and my shifts were good.
Man, it’s really on the team guys. They get the job done.
- What did Rick have to say to you?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, he’s just excited. I think Daytona 500 qualifying means a lot to him. It’s something he’s very prideful of. Our record speaks for itself on that.
We’ve talked about it quite a few times this off-season, it’s been a long time since Hendrick Motorsports won the Daytona 500. We got to make that change on Sunday, for sure. We’re doing all we can to make that happen.
- Do you get a bonus for the pole or anything?
ALEX BOWMAN: No, no. I get added workload. I don’t get any bonus. Nothing. I get a trophy and three more hours of work tomorrow (smiling).
- Is there pressure at some point being on pole, now it’s time to win it?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for sure. Every year. Man, now it’s time to finish, like make it to the end. Last year I think I sat on the back straightaway for four laps before they could figure out how to get me to pit road with four flat tires.
Yeah, it’s such a hard race to finish. We’ve crashed early, we’ve crashed in the middle, we’ve crashed late. Obviously I don’t have the answer to that. I haven’t figured out how to finish it yet.
I know we have a really fast race car and a great group of guys that are capable of doing great. But, man, it’s been tough. We want to finish this race and finish it well.
- Do you approach the Duels any differently from the past five years?
ALEX BOWMAN: It’s hard to say. Last year I think the state of who had cars and all that was really worrying kind of across the board. This year it just really depends on how it drives, right? Obviously we’re here to get the front row. We’re in qualifying trim. You can’t really change much.
We’ll see how it drives in the draft. If it drives well, we’ll race hard. If it’s sketchy and I’m going to crash the thing, obviously you want to protect it. Yeah, going to do all we can to keep it up front and see how it drives.
- Is that the first time both your dogs were in Victory Lane for you?
ALEX BOWMAN: Yeah, for sure. I have to thank Jess. She went and got Finn and Roscoe. It’s not a win. They don’t go to many races. Any time they’re here, it’s special. I’ve never had them in Victory Lane. It was cool to do that. Roscoe didn’t bite anybody that I know of so we’re good.
Yeah, it was cool to get to do that for sure.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports