Alex Bowman makes strong case to stay driver of 88 car at Fontana

Alex Bowman
FONTANA, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 28: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Cincinnati Chevrolet, emerges with the fastest practice laps at Auto Club Speedway on February 28, 2020 in Fontana, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing Alex Bowman has consistently done in his time with Hendrick Motorsports, it’s proving those who doubted him wrong.

He did it with his breakout performance at Phoenix Raceway in November of 2016. He did it last June at Chicagoland Speedway, when he scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Alex Bowman makes strong case to stay driver of 88 car at Fontana

After last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, he’s making a strong case that he deserves to remain in the seat of the No. 88 Chevrolet.

Bowman led a race high of 110 laps (the second-most he’s led in a race) and won the first stage. He maintained the best average running position (1.76) of anyone in the field and never ran worse than seventh, according to NASCAR’s post-race loop data.

He also finished with a 149.3 driver rating, seven-tenths short of a perfect rating.

“I’m just so proud of this team, Hendrick Motorsports, Hendrick horsepower under the hood, the whole shop back home,” Bowman said. “They work their butts off. We put a lot of effort into this new car, and it’s obviously working well.”

Furthermore, Bowman did as crew chief Greg Ives instructed and managed his tires like a veteran, even as they corded over long runs.

“Thanks to Greg, all the guys,” Bowman said. “He made good calls all day and we were up front when it counted.

Though he didn’t learn that until after the race, when he overheard Ives tell Claire B. Lang on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. He then poured some liquid down his back.

“That’s for not telling me the tires were going flat,” Bowman said.

He’s one of less than 150 drivers in NASCAR Cup Series history who’ve ever won more than one race.

“We’ve been so good to start this season,” Bowman said. “We started the season very poorly really over the last two years, and it just means the world to show up at the racetrack and have the first run on the racetrack really be almost perfect and just be able to really fine tune the race car.”

Bowman leaves Fontana third in points, 12 back of Ryan Blaney.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to the track at Phoenix next Sunday. For more auto racing news and updates, follow our department on Twitter at @RacingVault.

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I've been a fan of NASCAR since I was five years old. My passion for it, and auto racing in general, inspired me to pursue a career in it. For four years, I covered NASCAR and IndyCar for SpeedwayMedia.com. I'm currently studying at the University of Tennessee to pursue a career in sports writing. As a student at the University of Tennessee, and a native of Knoxville, Tenn., I'm a diehard fan of Tennessee Volunteers football. If covering NASCAR doesn't kill me one day, watching Tennessee football will. I'm also a fan of the Atlanta Braves, the Nashville Predators and the NFL. Outside of sports, I watch anime, read manga and watch a lot of films.

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