CONCORD, N.C. - This weekend brings a trip home for Alex Bowman.
The Tucson, Arizona, native is excited to pilot his No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 at ISM Raceway for his ninth career NASCAR Cup Series race at his home state venue.
“ISM Raceway is one of the tracks that I circle on the calendar,” the driver said. “We have had some bad luck there these last few races, so I am looking forward to redeeming myself this weekend.”
That desire for redemption stems in part from his first race at the track with Hendrick Motorsports back in 2016. Filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel, Bowman earned the pole at ISM Raceway – his first in his Cup Series career – and went on to lead a race-high 194 laps.
His average running position during the event was 1.9, as he spent 272 laps running in the top two positions. Ultimately, however, he would take the checkered flag in sixth in double overtime.
“I still feel like the 2016 race was the win that got away,” he said. “This No. 88 team had an amazing car from the time we unloaded to the time we went green in the race.”
Since then, he has finishes of 13th, 30th and 35th at the venue. But he has also continued to earn strong starting spots, never rolling off the grid lower than sixth in his four races at the track with Hendrick Motorsports.
This weekend, he’ll look to keep up the streak of strong starts and turn it into an even stronger finish.
“A race win at my home track would be extremely special,” Bowman said. “I think anytime 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.”
Since the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course race in September, Bowman’s three top-five finishes are tied for the second most in the series during that six-race span.
With his hometown fans cheering him on, he’ll look to add to that total Sunday at ISM Raceway. The race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.