Bowman looks to bring winning act to high banks of Dover

By Mike Finney
Posted 4/25/24

DOVER — The best birthday present that Alex Bowman could get this weekend would be a second Miles the Monster trophy for winning Sunday’s Wurth 400 Cup Series race at Dover Motor …

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Bowman looks to bring winning act to high banks of Dover


DOVER — The best birthday present that Alex Bowman could get this weekend would be a second Miles the Monster trophy for winning Sunday’s Wurth 400 Cup Series race at Dover Motor Speedway.

Bowman, who turned 31 Thursday, believes that Dover could provide just the spark he needs in what will be his 300th Cup Series start to light the candles on both his cake and his season.

The driver of the No. 48 Ally Financial Chevrolet has had an up-and-down season but has collected four top-five finishes in the first 10 races of 2024. He is coming off a fifth-place effort at Talladega last Sunday.

The cool thing about coming to Dover, a track known as the “Monster Mile” for its propensity to eat up cars involved in crashes, is that Bowman drives for the same Hendrick Motorsports team that Jimmie Johnson did when he drove to a record 11 wins at the high-banked, one-mile oval.

The Tucson, Arizona, native missed the Dover race last year after he suffered a back injury from an accident during a sprint car race at West Burlington, Iowa. But now, Bowman is ready to make up for lost time.

“Obviously, I missed the (Dover) race last year, but it’s turned into one of my best racetracks,” Bowman said. “I think the specific keys I’d like to keep to myself. But I think I’ve just learned some things that have helped me throughout the years and some ways to approach it that I really took from being teammates with Jimmie Johnson.

“I feel like, honestly, I really struggled (at Dover) and had a long conversation with Jimmie in 2019 and have been pretty fast there ever since. I think we definitely approach it really similarly and that has definitely paid off.”

Bowman drove to victory at Dover in 2021. He has posted five top-five finishes in 12 races at the track, all coming in his last six races at the Monster Mile.

The driver with the nickname “Bowman the Showman” loves the feeling of speed that Dover provides to the driver.

“I think Dover probably feels the fastest of anywhere we go just with elevation changes and, honestly, it’s probably one of the most physical races for us, too, being a 400-lap race on a racetrack that has really high g-force loads,” said Bowman.

“It’s a tough race. It used to be one that I dreaded a little bit and now I feel like I’m in pretty good shape and I look forward to it. It’s a fast one and a tough one, for sure.”

Sunday’s race could turn out to be just the one that puts the driver — and familiar No. 48 — back into Dover’s victory lane.

He has seven career wins in the Cup Series, but none since 2022.

Bowman and his crew chief Blake Harris believe the team is right on the verge of a breakthrough.

“We’ve definitely been on the right path,” said Bowman. “There are still some things that we still need to improve on and do better, but we’ve been better, for the past couple of weeks particularly, so I’m excited about that and we’re in a pretty good spot right now.

“I feel like Blake and I were able to communicate really well immediately when we started working together, but I think we’ve been working on some team things — and some car things — that have helped. Just getting back in a rhythm has been good.”

One thing is for certain, Bowman has never been one to shy away from pressure.

After all, he replaced the ever-popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car after the driver suffered a concussion in 2016 and then took over the seat of NASCAR legend Jimmie Johnson in 2021.

“I drove for a lot of really small teams. So I think when I got to Hendrick Motorsports, it wasn’t necessarily the car number pressure or who drove it before pressure. It was like, ‘You’re at Hendrick Motorsports. You need to win races,’ Bowman said.

“I think for me I just want to win races for me. But I’ve been able to drive a lot of really cool car numbers and that’s been really, really cool.”

Away from the track, he enjoys playing with his dog Finn, who is a Labrador, working out and going underneath the hood of his cars and working on them.

“I’m a pretty regular guy, honestly,” said Bowman. “I grew up with a mechanical background … I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.

“I’m probably as good a mechanic as I am a race car driver, maybe a better mechanic than a race car driver, and I think that’s the biggest thing that probably gets overlooked. I definitely love working on stuff.”

Today, he will be working on finding his way back into Dover’s victory lane.

Staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at 302-741-8230 or
Follow @MikeFinneyDSN on X.

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