Life as a 26-year-old is going quite well for Alex Bowman. The driver of the No. 88 scored the best result of his NASCAR Cup Series career with a second-place finish at Talladega just three days after his birthday. The Tucson, Arizona, native matched that result last time out in Dover to make it back-to-back runner-up finishes.
Now the Hendrick Motorsports driver will hope to do one better and take his first Cup Series trip to victory lane when NASCAR visits Kansas Speedway for a race under the lights.
“We are coming off two great weekends,” Bowman said. “Talladega is a superspeedway, so there is a lot of luck involved in that one. Dover, however, is just physically exhausting. We had a shot at the win and that is all that you can ask for. I have to give credit to [crew chief] Greg [Ives] and the No. 88 guys. They put a great car together last weekend and they should definitely be proud of Monday’s execution. We will continue moving forward with this momentum and try to finish one spot better on Saturday night.”
RACE INFO: Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway | Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET
DOVER REWIND: Alex Bowman is coming off another career-best weekend after Monday’s race in Dover. The Nationwide team finished second when the field took the checkered flag after 400 laps, made even more impressive by the fact that Bowman started from the tail end of the field. The 26-year-old driver finished Stage 1 in the seventh position after driving through the field in the first 120 laps. During Stage 2, Bowman remained inside the top five and raced his way to the front, taking the lead with 15 laps to go in the segment. The Nationwide machine ultimately crossed the line second in the stage, as the No. 19 car passed Bowman on the final lap. During the final segment, Bowman settled into the third position as cars raced single-file. With 45 laps to go, the No. 88 Camaro ZL1 was scored second and would ultimately cross the line in that position as the remainder of the event ran caution-free.
BOWMAN AT KANSAS: Bowman will make his eighth start in the NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway this weekend. Last spring, the No. 88 Nationwide team finished 18th at the track after starting 19th. The 26-year-old driver started in the 10th position in the fall at the Kansas-based track and finished ninth. Back in 2016, Bowman ran the No. 88 machine for Hendrick Motorsports in the fall event and captured his first top-10 finish at the track by crossing the line seventh. The Tucson, Arizona, native has one start at the track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he qualified and finished in the 11th position. Bowman has a stellar record at the 1.5-mile facility in the ARCA Series with two front-row starting positions including a pole position in 2012, and he captured the victory in both events. The driver led a total of 70 laps at the track in the series.
RUNNING NEAR THE FRONT: Since 2016, Bowman has run 515 laps inside the top two positions on three different tracks. The driver ran 128 laps inside the top two last weekend in Dover and 56 laps the weekend prior in Talladega. Coincidentally, Bowman ran inside the top two at the same two tracks in 2018, running 31 laps inside the top two at Talladega and 28 in Dover. In 2016, the No. 88 team ran 272 laps inside the top two, 194 of which were run in the lead.
BOWMAN ON WHAT MAKES KANSAS UNIQUE: “Kansas Speedway is cool because it’s newer pavement, but it’s widened out a lot. You can run from the bottom to the top. That is one of the only newer paved places that you can do that right now. I enjoy going there as much as it widens out. This is one of my favorite tracks, to be honest. I feel like when you run at night versus during the day, the track doesn’t change much and feels really the same. The top always comes in, which makes the racing fun. This is a race that I definitely look forward to coming to.”
IVES AT KANSAS: Crew chief Greg Ives will call the shots for the ninth time for the No. 88 team in Kansas this weekend. The Michigan native has one top-five finish and four top 10s at the track. Ives’ drivers have an average start of 17.5 and an average finish of 12.5 at the track. The crew chief’s resume includes one top-five finish and two top 10s at the venue in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2013, Ives’ driver led 81 laps en route to a third-place finish at the facility. Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 team at Hendrick Motorsports from 2006 until 2012. During that time, he was a part of two wins, two pole awards and eight top-10 finishes at Kansas.
HEADING TO KANSAS: With momentum on his side after a strong run at Dover International Speedway, William Byron is hoping that success carries over for Saturday night’s race at Kansas Speedway. With two previous NASCAR Cup Series starts at the 1.5-mile tri-oval, luck has not been on the No. 24 driver’s side. While running solidly within the top 10 at the end of the 2018 spring race, Byron was collected in a multiple-car incident with 14 laps to go, ending his night with a 33rd-place finish. In the fall, Byron felt like he had one of his best cars of the 2018 season, but an engine issue 55 laps in resulted in a 38th-place finish. However, in his first two NASCAR national series starts at Kansas Speedway – one Xfinity Series start and one Gander Outdoors Truck Series start – Byron started from the pole position in both races and finished inside the top five each time. In fact, in his debut at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 2016, just his fifth Truck Series start, Byron started from the top spot, led 34 laps and collected his first Truck Series win, which kick-started the most successful season by a rookie in the history of the Truck Series.
‘MONSTER MILE’ MOMENTUM: Qualifying second for the third time in 2019, his fourth time starting on the front row, Byron showed speed throughout the entire weekend at Dover International Speedway. After rain postponed the Cup Series race until Monday afternoon, Byron went on to collect stage points, lead laps, and cross the finish line with a track-best finish of eighth at the “Monster Mile.”
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT KANSAS: At Kansas Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has amassed seven wins, five pole positions, 31 top-five finishes and 55 top 10s, all of which lead NASCAR Cup Series teams all-time at the track. With three wins apiece, Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are tied for the most wins all-time at Kansas. Johnson leads all drivers in top-10 finishes (17) and active drivers in top-five finishes (nine) at Kansas. Most recently, Chase Elliott won for the organization at the track last fall. Hendrick Motorsports’ average finish of 13.51 at the track is the best all-time. Kansas is one of 14 active tracks where the organization owns or is tied for the most wins all-time at the venue.
ON A ROLL: After starting one-two in each of the past two races, Hendrick Motorsports has occupied 75 percent of the top-two finishing positions over the past two weeks. It marks the first time since April 2016 that the organization has had multiple drivers finish inside the top five in consecutive races. On Monday at Dover International Speedway, all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers led laps for the first time in a race since last July at Daytona International Speedway.
STARTING ON THE FRONT ROW: Hendrick Motorsports owns four pole positions in 2019, the most of any team so far this season. The organization is the only team to have swept the front row in qualifying this year, accomplishing the feat four times. That ties for the second-most front row qualifying sweeps in a single season by the organization behind its record of seven in 1986.
1.5-MILE CHAMPS: Hendrick Motorsports has a NASCAR Cup Series record 58 total wins on 1.5-mile tracks, 12 more than the next closest team, Joe Gibbs Racing.