This time last season, Alex Bowman was not even in a race car. But in just about a year, the 25-year-old from Tucson, Arizona is going to be competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs for Hendrick Motorsports.
While most are still talking about the big three or Team Penske’s momentum going into the playoffs, we cannot forget that the Hendrick boys are in there as well.
Going into the season, Bowman had big shoes to fill after replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. and has fully taken advantage of it. He may not have captured a win yet, but two top-five and nine top-10 finishes led Bowman to make the Playoffs in his first year with Hendrick Motorsports.
“Yeah, it’s a long way from the couch,” Bowman said. “It’s cool to be a part of it and just hopefully we can do more than just be a part of it, but make noise in it. We have had a rough couple of weeks and really a rough year, but we have been getting much faster and if we can just capitalize on that it will be good.”
Although Hendrick Motorsports got off to the season with a slow start, they have picked it up a bit. Bowman’s teammate Chase Elliot captured his first career Cup Series win at Watkins Glen and Jimmie Johnson quietly made the Playoffs.
At some points of the season, it has seemed like Bowman had the best speed out of the Hendrick organization after having a strong summer beginning with three straight top-10 runs at Sonoma, Chicago, and Daytona, and finishing third at the tricky triangle of Pocono.
“Yeah, absolutely, I think we have definitely gotten better over the course of the year and especially here lately. We’ve got the best in the business back at Hendrick Motorsports trying to accelerate that process a little bit, but I’m confident we can continue to improve.” Bowman said.
The past few weeks have not gone so well for the No. 88 capturing two finishes outside of the top-20, but the excitement and enthusiasm of being a part of NASCAR’s elite series Playoffs may give them a boost.
There is no doubt that Hendrick Motorsports is one of the best in the business; but when it comes to the Playoffs, they sure do have a history of capitalizing. Since 2006, Hendrick Motorsports has won seven championships, so we cannot count them out just yet.
“I think we have made pretty dramatic improvements from where we started the year. Bowman said. “It’s too good of a company to keep down. We have too many good people and great resources. I think we will continue to improve and I think we can start off the Playoffs with some good runs.”
With consistent and strong runs like he had in the summer, Bowman may be threat for race wins which can lead to a surprise championship run.
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