|AXALTA ON BOARD: This weekend marks the sixth of 12 events in which the Axalta colors will adorn Alex Bowman’s No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. Axalta will be on the No. 88 machine this weekend at Sonoma Raceway and again next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. Last year, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Axalta signed a four-year contract extension that will take the partnership through 2022. The leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings unveiled a new Axalta Racing website last year that includes plenty of behind-the-scenes content, photos, and videos. Check out Bowman’s page here.
ALL ABOUT POINTS: In the last six races, Bowman and the No. 88 team have gone from 21st in the point standings to 10th. Within those six events, the driver has averaged a start of 11.2 and finish of 6.3. He is tied for the most top-10 finishes among all Cup Series drivers during that span with five.
BOWMAN TURNS LEFT AND RIGHT: Bowman will make his fourth start at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday. The Tucson, Arizona, native’s first and only top-10 at the track came last season when he finished ninth at the conclusion of the 110-lap event. Out of 330 total laps run in his three races at the track, Bowman has completed 99.7 percent. Last year, Bowman made a start at the California-based track in the K&N Pro Series West, qualifying seventh before an engine issue relegated him to a 24th-place result.
FIRST WIN: If Bowman were to capture the victory this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, he would be the second driver to get his first win at the venue. The driver of the No. 88 Chevy would be a part of a group of 15 drivers to get their first career win at a road course, including teammate Elliott, who captured his first Cup win at Watkins Glen International last year.
IVES AT SONOMA: No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives has called the shots four times at Sonoma Raceway for Hendrick Motorsports. The Michigan native has three top-10 results at the track along with one 11th-place finish. Ives’ drivers have completed 100 percent of the total laps run during those four events. The crew chief’s best finish at the track came in 2017 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth. Last season, Ives led Bowman and the No. 88 team to a ninth-place finish at Sonoma.
BY THE NUMBERS: Bowman earned an average finish of 9.0 on road courses last season, the sixth-best of all drivers. In addition, he ranked sixth on the list of drivers with the most points scored on road courses in 2018 with 97 points earned. The 26-year-old driver has led 94 laps this season, the sixth-most of drivers without a win in 2019.
DEAR DIARY: Bowman’s sixth diary piece for Motorsport.com came out last week and he discussed his off-weekend plans and what the past six races have meant to him and the entire No. 88 team. You can find Bowman’s June diary piece here.
PITCH TO WIN BIG: Small Business Week ran from May 5-11 and recognized small businesses everywhere. Nationwide and BlueVine are teaming up to give away up to $100,000 to one small business to help it grow. From now until June 30, small-business owners can visit www.pitchtowinbig.com to enter for a chance to win funds to achieve their business goals. Nationwide and BlueVine will select the contest finalists, who will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Nationwide’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, to pitch business leaders during a live “Pitch to Win” event. The winning pitch will win the $100,000 prize, with second place receiving $20,000 and third place taking home $10,000.
EYES SET FOR THE GLEN: On Monday, June 17, Hendrick Motorsports partner Axalta Coating Systems, along with Bowman, announced a joint branding initiative with CARSTAR for the upcoming race at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 4. CARSTAR is North America’s premier network of independently owned and operated collision repair facilities. The CARSTAR logo will be featured on the television panel and roof of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at Watkins Glen. In addition to the branding on the car, Bowman will also wear a special helmet designed through the “Accelerate the Cure” contest. Those affected by cystic fibrosis can design a helmet for Bowman in order to raise awareness for the disease. Those interested can visit the “Accelerate the Cure” website to submit an entry. The deadline to submit is July 5.