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LAS VEGAS – For the second consecutive season, Alex Bowman is one of the 16 drivers who have made the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. And he’s looking to finish out the season with a big statement.

Locked into the playoffs via his first career Cup Series win at Chicagoland Speedway, Bowman has high hopes as the playoffs begin this weekend at another 1.5-mile track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“This is a race we have had circled regardless of the playoffs,” the driver said. “I think we can be really strong. We were strong here in the spring and I knocked the right rear off of it, and we kind of had to fight back from that. I think our mile-an-a-half program is really good. It is the same car we won Chicago with, so I am really confident.”

Bowman collected not only a win this season but four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. The No. 88 driver said making the playoffs this year brings an entirely different feeling than his first trip to the postseason last year.

“I definitely feel more confident, and that comes from the speed that we’ve shown during the year,” he said. “Even lately we’ve had great speed, we just haven’t really got anything to show for it. I think we have as good of a shot as anybody going in, and can win a couple of races here and make a big statement in the playoffs.”

Bowman knows from experience the pressure that the elimination format of the playoffs can bring, but even as the fifth-youngest driver in the field, he relishes those stakes.

“There is definitely some added pressure that comes with it,” he acknowledged. “As a driver you really want to make the next round and continue as far through it as you can and go run for a championship. But I welcome that pressure. I feel like my career has kind of been made by performing under those high-pressure situations.

“I’m all for it and ready to go.”