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      Alex Bowman returns to home track as NASCAR visits ISM Raceway


      © 2019 Russell LaBounty / NKP

      Bluegreen Vacations 500
      ISM Raceway
      Sunday, Nov. 10 | 2:30 p.m. ET


      ALEX BOWMAN

      WELCOME HOME: Bowman, a Tucson, Arizona, native has eight starts in the NASCAR Cup Series at his home track of ISM Raceway. His best finish of sixth came in the 2016 event when the No. 88 team started from the pole and led a race-high 194 laps. His average running position during that event was 1.9 as he spent 272 laps running inside the top two. Earlier this year, Bowman qualified sixth and finished 35th after being involved in an incident on Lap 191 of the 312-lap event. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has six starts at the one-mile track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, as well. His best Xfinity qualifying effort at the track of fifth came in 2014 and 2017. In the fall 2017 Xfinity event, he claimed his best finishing position of eighth. In 2011, he ran the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event at ISM Raceway, where he started ninth and led 23 laps en route to a second-place finish.

      BOWMAN ON ISM RACEWAY: “ISM Raceway is one of the tracks that I circle on the calendar. I still feel like the 2016 race was the win that got away. This No. 88 team had an amazing car from the time we unloaded to the time we went green in the race. We have had some bad luck there these last few races, so I am looking forward to redeeming myself this weekend. … A race win at my home track would be extremely special. I think anytime that someone wins at their home track is something that sticks with them forever. Being so close a few years ago was tough, but this team doesn’t give up. We want a win in Phoenix and we know that we have been close before and can unload a good car this weekend.”

      © Phil Cavali Photography

      ONE MILE OR LESS TRACK STATS: Bowman has made nine starts on tracks measuring one mile or less this season. In those nine starts, he has qualified inside the top 15 six times, with his best qualifying effort of fifth coming in the spring Dover International Speedway event. Earlier this year, the 26-year-old captured a runner-up finish and a third-place result in the two races at Dover after qualifying inside the top 12 in both events.

      IVES AT ISM: For the 10th time in his NASCAR Cup Series crew chief career, Greg Ives will call the shots for the No. 88 team this weekend at his driver’s home track. The Bark River, Michigan, native claimed the victory in the 2015 fall event at ISM Raceway with Dale Earnhardt Jr. after leading 22 laps. He led Bowman to a pole win at the track in 2016 and the No. 88 Chevrolet led 194 laps en route to a sixth-place finish. Ives has four starts at the Avondale, Arizona, venue as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, with a best finish of fourth coming in 2013 with driver Regan Smith. From 2006-2012, Ives was a race engineer for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team. During that time, he was a part of four wins, one pole award and 11 top-five finishes at ISM Raceway.

      TOP-FIVE STREAK: Since the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course event in September, Bowman has finished inside the top five on three occasions. The driver finished second to teammate Chase Elliott during the “roval” event and went on to finish third at Dover International Speedway the next weekend. This past weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Bowman ran inside the top 10 for the majority of the race and brought home a fifth-place result. That ties the driver for the second-most top-five finishes in the last six races, behind only Denny Hamlin’s four.

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      WILLIAM BYRON

      BRINGING THE HEAT TO THE DESERT: With six NASCAR starts at ISM Raceway across all three national series, Byron is geared up for his fourth NASCAR Cup Series start this weekend at the Avondale, Arizona, venue. In his three previous Cup starts at the one-mile oval, the sophomore driver has a track-best qualifying effort of seventh that came in the spring of this year, and a track-best finish of ninth in last year’s fall race. Aside from his three Cup starts at ISM Raceway, Byron has one NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series start and two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. In November 2017, Byron became the youngest winner ever at ISM Raceway in the Xfinity Series at 19 years, 11 months and 13 days.

      KNAUS’ PHOENIX PROWESS: For the 34th time as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief, Chad Knaus will sit atop the pit box at ISM Raceway this Sunday. With four wins at the one-mile oval, all coming with Jimmie Johnson, Knaus ranks second among active Cup crew chiefs, just one victory behind the top spot. He also has three pole awards at ISM Raceway to his name with the No. 48 team.

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      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS

      HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT ISM RACEWAY: Hendrick Motorsports leads NASCAR Cup Series teams all-time at ISM Raceway with 10 wins, nine runner-up results, 47 top-five finishes, 84 top 10s, 11 poles and 2,653 laps led. At least one Hendrick Motorsports driver has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last 15 races at ISM Raceway, which is the longest active streak, and in all but one of the last 26 races at the track. At least one of the organization’s drivers has led laps in each of the last eight races at the venue.

      DRIVERS FARE WELL AT ISM: Each of the four active Hendrick Motorsports drivers has at least one top-10 finish in the last six events at ISM Raceway, and at least one teammate has started inside the top five in each of the last eight races at the track.

      Via Hendrick Motorsports