CONCORD, N.C. -- After finishing the first playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway 22nd, No. 48 driver Alex Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives know the importance of keeping their eyes forward as the team gets ready for the next playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bowman currently is scored 11th in the playoff points standings, 13 playoff points below the eighth-place driver at the cutline. With just two races left in the Round of 12, Ives will do everything he can to give Bowman the best chance to transfer to the Round of 8, starting with a clean day at Talladega.
“Our consistency to be inconsistent is definitely a Talladega thing, for sure, for us,” Ives said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We always have a fast car there – Alex always seems to put himself in the right positions. Whether we get wrecked leading, wrecked in the middle or wrecked somewhere else, we have a tendency to still have a strong day. I think that is what we are going to have to focus on going forward – strategizing ourselves to maximize points all day.”
In his 12 NASCAR Cup Series starts at the superspeedway, Bowman has a one top-five finish and three top-10s with his career-best second-place finish coming in April 2019 behind teammate Chase Elliott. Ives knows superspeedways bring chaos and he plans to stay flexible and work with the other Chevrolets on the track as new challenges present themselves during the race.
“We’re anticipating, in our camp, trying to work together as well as we can but also have two or three teams trying to utilize Talladega to be in a spot where we can win or gain a lot of points to transfer on,” Ives said. “Ultimately, you have to be selfish when it’s time to do that at the end of the stages. In order to make it there, you have to have teammates and I am pretty sure we are going to have strong ones.”
While the team is currently outside of the playoff bubble looking in, Bowman and Ives plan to utilize their superspeedway success at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the 500-mile event at Talladega. In the final race of the 2021 Cup Series regular season, the Tucson, Arizona, native crossed the finish line in seventh at “The World Center of Racing” and the duo hope to cross the finish line first so they don’t have to worry about securing a position in the Round of 8 during next week’s playoff race at the Charlotte ROVAL.
“The fool-proof plan has always been … if you can make it to the checkers at some of these superspeedway races, usually you are ending up in a pretty good day,” Ives said. “I think it was at Daytona, we were all wrecked, barely rolling, and we crossed the line in the top 10 and had a good day out of it.”
Be sure to tune in this Sunday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. ET on NBC to see Bowman, Ives and the rest of the Hendrick Motorsports teams take on Talladega in the Round of 12.