Bowman Looks For More Winning Ways

Alex Bowman

Alex Bowman is looking to bounce back in the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season as he begins his second year with crew chief Blake Harris and his seventh full-time campaign at Hendrick Motorsports.

Bowman started strong in 2023 with three top-five finishes and six top-10s in the opening seven races, including a pair of third-place results at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Circuit of The Americas. He also earned his record sixth straight front-row starting spot for the DAYTONA 500 and a top-five finish in “The Great American Race,” which was also his first points-paying event with Harris. That fast start propelled Bowman to the points lead in March.

“Our relationship was really good right from the start,” Bowman said of Harris, who was in his first year at Hendrick Motorsports in 2023. “Obviously, the second half of ’23 wasn’t what we wanted. I think we continued to work well together. I’m looking forward to seeing what ’24 holds.”

Unfortunately, Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in April and was sidelined for a month, missing three points-paying races and the All-Star Race. Following his return, the results weren’t the same and the 30-year-old went on to miss the playoffs for the first time in his Hendrick Motorsports career. With just three starting spots in the top five, stage points were tougher to come by as well – Bowman finished the season 17th in that statistic. However, he did extend his streak to six straight seasons with double-digit top-10 finishes in October.

With the new year here, Harris is looking to repeat that early momentum from last year and has his eyes on certain tracks that the No. 48 Ally Racing team can capitalize on from the outset.

“We are going to take each week as it comes as we did last year, but we are going for the win straight out of the box,” Harris told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio last month. “Last year, we went to LA, had a good run and were super competitive. Rolling with momentum into Daytona we go sit on the front row and come out of there with a top five. You can’t script that type of momentum going into the season. It carried up until the point where Alex (Bowman) got hurt.

“Certainly looking forward to (Las) Vegas. Atlanta (Motor Speedway) is circled for us. We had really fast race cars there. I’m looking forward to the first four or five on the schedule and carrying some of that momentum that we had last year, notes that we got out of the box and see if we can’t go knock one out.”

In late April, Bowman is slated to make his 300th career Cup Series start at Dover Motor Speedway. The 1-mile track is his favorite venue on the circuit and is the site of a Bowman-led top-four sweep by Hendrick Motorsports in 2021.

Since the start of 2019, Bowman’s seven wins are the 10th-most among active Cup Series drivers. Last season was the first in five years that the Tucson, Arizona, native did not record a victory. He has his focus set on getting back to victory lane and getting back into the NASCAR playoffs.

“I think we are plenty capable of that,” Bowman said. “We showed that at the beginning of last year. We’ve won quite a few races in the last couple of years. There’s no reason we can’t get back to doing what we’re supposed to do this year.”

PIT CREW LINEUP
Front-tire changer: Donnie Tasser
Rear-tire changer: Andrew Bridgeforth
Tire carrier: Brandon Grier
Jackman: Allen Holman
Fueler: Jacob Conley

The No. 48 road crew will have some new personnel with George Spencer (lead engineer), Collin Hoeffner (tire specialist) and Gage Wenzel (engine tuner) joining the team.

STAT TO KNOW: 7.1, Bowman’s average finish through the first seven races of the 2023 season.

40TH ANNIVERSARY MOMENT: June 30, 2019 at Chicagoland Speedway
Bowman reflects on his first Cup Series win and his first win at Hendrick Motorsports
“That race was so difficult to win. Getting passed for the lead with eight to go (by future teammate Kyle Larson) and then getting it back. That first win at Chicago was big, especially with how the year had gone. We had finished second three weeks in a row (in the spring) a bit before that. That was a tough one to win and it means a lot.”

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

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