Not that he needs it, given the fact that he could obtain a 5-Hour Energy drink at any moment of the day, but Bowyer said he relishes racing at restrictor-plate tracks like Talladega because such tracks give drivers a shot of adrenaline.
“It doesn’t matter what you watch the race at Talladega, the last 20 laps, the last 40 laps of the race, it doesn’t matter what you do to the cars, it’s always going to get into that environment where it’s go time,” Bowyer said. “You’re out of time, you’re against the clock, and you’ve got to get yourself into position and no matter what the cost, and try to win this race for yourself and your team.”
Bowyer said restrictor-plate tracks give NASCAR fans more of what they want to see.
“My thought on these restrictor-plate tracks: these are the tracks where it’s relatively easy to change what you see, the product of racing,” Bowyer said. “If people don’t like tandem racing, two cars pushing each other, they can change that. If that want it back, we can put it back. That goal, in what fans want to see, changes over the years. It’s definitely changed. For a while, they loved the tandem racing and then it ran its course and nobody liked it anymore. Well, they changed it. That’s one thing that I like about these restrictor plate tracks is it’s relatively easy to make some aero changes that shake up and change the product of what you see on the race track.”
According to Bowyer, he has the most fun when he’s in Talladega.
“People at Talladega…just Alabamians I would call them, they are very creative in what they do with their situation at the race track, the opportunity that lies in front of them,” Bowyer said. “It’s just amazing driving through the infield. That’s the funnest part of the year is driving through the infield, just seeing all the havoc. I’m a family guy too. Family comes with me to every race. It’s fun to see that, but I also love friends. I love being around friends. There’s nothing neater than to see a group of motorhomes parked together, they’ve been parking together for 10 years and they all know each other. They pick on each other and have beers at night and watch the rowdies. That’s a fun situation, a fun atmosphere to go over and mingle with them a little bit, get to know them. There’s a lot of LSU fans. They’re crazy. They seem to wick it up a little bit more. Their spark is a little more intense than other fans it looks to me like. Their coolers are bigger. They’ve got a huge pot of jambalaya. I’m not a big fan of that. They get rowdy. That’s what’s fun.”
As for what Bowyer expects to see when the checker flag drops and the Aaron’s 499 begins on May 5, he anticipates this year’s race being much different than in past years. However, he also expects it to be familiar to races seen earlier this season because of the new Gen-6 car.
“It’s just been more of what we love about NASCAR,” Bowyer said of the new Gen-6 car. “It’s just been better. If you look at it, obviously identity is a big thing, but you’re like ‘Why is it?’ It just is: the aero side of it. There’s some things that are making sense and you see some merit there. It’s lighter, it’s lower CG and that makes more grip. Any time you have more grip, you can race closer. It creates that side-by-side racing. Anytime you’re racing side-by-side with the speeds that we run, you’re going to slip up. You’re going to get into each other. You’re going to get agitated and you might fight after the race like we’ve seen, and you never know what we’re going to fight about now. Blocking for the win is apparently no good. At least Joey [Logano] didn’t wreck anybody. He ended up on my lap, [Tony] Stewart when he blocked. Literally. In my lap. But it’s just been great racing, and I think it’s due in part to this car. I’m telling you. I think the biggest change is definitely this car in what we’re seeing.”