Bowman Rolls Into Phoenix Energized

48 Alex Bowman

Age: 28 (April 25, 1993)

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona

Resides: Concord, North Carolina

Crew Chief: Greg Ives

Standings: 14th

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No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

TICK TOCK: Last Sunday, Alex Bowman captured his first Martinsville Speedway victory after leading the final nine laps of the 500-lap event. The driver of the No. 48 ran inside the top 10 for most of the event and was in position to take over the lead on lap 448. This marks the team’s fourth victory of the season and Ally’s fourth career victory as a team partner. The No. 48 is no stranger to victory lane at the Virginia-based venue with Jimmie Johnson capturing nine wins in 38 starts. Before Sunday’s win, the most recent No. 48 victory at the track came in 2016 after Johnson led 92 of 500 laps.

BOWMAN WINS, PETS WIN: Through the yearlong initiative between Ally and the Best Friends Animal Society, when Bowman wins a race, a local shelter receives $10,000 from him and primary sponsor Ally. Last weekend, Ally donated $10,000 and Bowman donated $1,000 to the Pittsylvania Pet Center in Martinsville, Virginia. The Pittsylvania Pet Center is committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of all companion animals by working with animal control offices in the enforcement of state and local laws, reducing the number of stray and homeless animals and providing the best care possible for every animal that comes through their doors. Every week, Ally and Bowman each make a $1,000 donation to a local animal shelter in the race market and that donation gets bumped up if the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet clinches a victory.

WELCOME HOME: Bowman heads to his home state to take on Phoenix Raceway for the 13th time in his NASCAR Cup Series career. The Tucson, Arizona, native has one top-10 finish at the 1-mile facility, which came in 2016 after he started from the pole position, led a race-high 194 laps and spent 272 laps inside the top two for an average running position of 1.9. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at the 1-mile oval with a best finish of eighth (2017) and one NASCAR ARCA Menards Series West start in 2011 when he led 23 laps en route to a second-place result.

ONE RACE REMAINS: The Cup Series season concludes with this weekend’s race at Phoenix and Bowman has had a career year through 35 events. The 28-year-old driver has four wins, eight top-five results and 16 top-10s, all personal season highs. Bowman has led 161 laps this season at nine different venues. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2016 as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman has six wins, 24 top-five results, 57 top-10s, 1,075 laps led and three pole awards, including two in the DAYTONA 500.

IVES IN PHOENIX: Crew chief Greg Ives is set to call his 14th Cup Series race this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. The Bark River, Michigan, native claimed a victory at Phoenix in the 2015 fall event with Earnhardt after leading 22 laps. In 2016, Ives guided Bowman to a pole win, 194 laps led and a sixth-place finish. The crew chief has one win (2016), two top-five finishes and four top-10s in his 13 starts and his drivers have led 250 laps. Ives has four Xfinity Series starts at the venue as a crew chief with a best finish of fourth with driver Regan Smith in 2013. From 2006-2012, he was part of four wins, one pole award and 11 top-five finishes at Phoenix Raceway as a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team.

PIT ROAD TIMES: The No. 48 pit crew sits seventh on the charts for the fastest average four-tire stop time of 13.92 seconds. The team includes fueler Jacob Conley, tire carrier Allen Stallings, jackman Dustin Lineback and tire changers Scott Brzozowski and Devin DelRicco.

CHAMPIONSHIP FOCUS: On Sunday, Hendrick Motorsports will field two championship contenders – Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson – in the title-deciding NASCAR Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway. It will be the first time the team has placed two drivers in the Championship 4 since NASCAR went to its current playoff format in 2014. Hendrick Motorsports holds the all-time records for Cup Series championships (13) and different drivers to win a title (four). Jimmie Johnson (seven championships), Jeff Gordon (four), Elliott (2020) and Terry Labonte (1996) have all won Cup trophies for the organization.

BOWTIE 40TH: Chevrolet has secured the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series manufacturer championship, marking its milestone and record-extending 40th. With one race remaining in the season, Chevy teams have won 18 of 35 points-paying events. In 2021, Hendrick Motorsports has delivered 16 of the 18 Chevrolet victories (89%) and contributed 83% of the points toward the manufacturer title. Since Rick Hendrick founded the team in 1984, 279 of Chevy’s 551 wins (51%) have come from his stable.

IN THE DUST: Entering Sunday’s Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway, Hendrick Motorsports holds the track records for wins (11), pole positions (12), top-five finishes (50), top-10s (92) and laps led (2,904). Elliott clinched the 2020 Cup Series championship with his win there last November.

GO TIME: Hendrick Motorsports has won five of the nine 2021 Cup Series playoff races – including each of the last four – and eight of 14 dating back to last year. It has recorded at least one playoff win in 17 straight seasons (since the playoffs began in 2004) and notched 52 combined wins in playoff races, which is the most. A Hendrick Motorsports driver has won in each of the last six playoff elimination races, including Elliott’s title-clinching performance at Phoenix in 2020.

STAGING AREA: With 27 stage wins thus far in 2021, Hendrick Motorsports is tied with Joe Gibbs Racing (2019) for the most ever in a single Cup Series season. The team will have an opportunity to break the record Sunday at Phoenix.

TOP-TWOS: With one race remaining, Hendrick Motorsports has recorded 32 top-two finishes in 2021, which is tied with JGR (2019) for the most in a single season in NASCAR’s modern era (since 1972). Hendrick Motorsports has swept the first and second positions in seven races this year, including a string of four straight 1-2 finishes.

YEAR TO REMEMBER: The 2021 season has been one of the most memorable in the history of Hendrick Motorsports. In May, the team finished 1-2-3-4 at Dover International Speedway, won Chevrolet’s milestone 800th race at Circuit of the Americas and at Charlotte Motor Speedway broke Petty Enterprises’ long-standing record for Cup Series wins. With one event remaining on the calendar, Hendrick Motorsports has recorded 16 points-paying victories, which is its second-most in a single season (18 in 2007). It became the only team since 1972 to win six consecutive points races – and seven overall including Larson’s non-points NASCAR All-Star Race victory. With its entire four-car stable contributing to the 2021 total, Hendrick Motorsports is the first team in Cup Series history with four race winners under the age of 30 in a single season.

Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on if he’s satisfied with his breakout season: “Yes and no. It’s so frustrating to have this playoff run go how it has gone. Last year, we had a great playoff run. We didn’t go into it with a lot of playoff points, but we were extremely consist – finished pretty well in the points and had a good playoffs. This year, we’ve just had everything go wrong that could possibly go wrong. So, it was really special to at least get pointed in the right direction to try to end the season on a high note and get a win after how the last couple of months have gone. Obviously, we’d rather be in the final four. I think it’s pretty obvious; that’s what everybody wants. We just haven’t had the consistency that we needed to make that happen. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way it went. So, we will work hard at trying to understand why that is. We’ve been trying to understand why that is for quite a while, so if we can get that dialed in, we’ve proven we can win races. Anytime we have a shot at it, we tend to finish the job. So, (we will) just keep trying to continue to put ourselves in positions to win races.”

Greg Ives, crew chief of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, on the approach to Sunday’s race in Phoenix: “Really similar. Obviously, they always talk about racing the playoff guys with respect and I don’t think we race anybody with disrespect. So, whether you’re in playoffs or not, I don’t think it should matter. Obviously, you know, things happen on the racetrack and intentional or not intentional, we will be truthful about it. There was a time in the last few years Alex made a move and it was intentional and he owned up to it, so track record should speak for that. Phoenix, we have two teammates in in there, we have a guy we just had some controversy with, so I don’t expect us to race Denny any differently, as well as our teammates any differently, than we have all year. For a position to win the race, it really comes down to whoever wants to go for second, right? In the end, we’re never going to put ourselves in a situation to ruin those guys’ opportunity to win a championship because we know at some point we’ll be in that same scenario and (will) want to get raced exactly how they would. So, in in the end, we’re just going to go out there have a nice, calm, clean race, hopefully a fast car, and let the driving and the speed dictate itself.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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