DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Last season, Alex Bowman found himself behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 10 races while Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovered from a concussion.
While it wasn't his first time in a NASCAR Cup Series ride, it proved to be a learning experience that started with reinstating confidence in himself as a driver.
“I spent a lot of years driving different equipment and you always feel like you can get the job done as a race car driver, but sometimes you kind of get down on yourself," Bowman explained. "Definitely felt like last year I proved to myself and everybody else that I deserve a shot to be here."
Throughout his 10 races with the No. 88 team, Bowman claimed three top-10s, one pole and led a total of 200 laps.
Bowman was also able to spend time learning from his Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
"To get to lean on a seven-time champion in Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, Chase Elliott, Dale (Earnhardt), Jr., Kasey Kahne -- there are so many smart people. It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a learning experience and I'm just trying to make the most of every opportunity that I get.”
And speaking of opportunities, Earnhardt and the No. 88 team gave Bowman another chance to pilot the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS Saturday night in The Clash.
The 23-year-old earned his eligibility for the season-opening exhibition race by securing the pole position for the Nov. 13 race at Phoenix International Raceway last season.
Bowman will be taking the green flag in eighth in the exhibition event and said he's looking at it as just another race.
“Especially being a speedway race there is no one thing I can do to do better or worse really," Bowman said. "It’s another race. It’s another opportunity to have a lot of fun with Hendrick Motorsports. That is something I kind of tried to do all last season was just to have fun and that is what we are going to try to do on Saturday night and hopefully bring home a trophy."
While Bowman's racing schedule for the remainder of the season is uncertain, there's one thing he's sure about.
"There just really wasn’t anything that was going to make me leave Hendrick Motorsports," he said. "I want to be part of a winning organization whether I am driving, just working for the team, doing testing or doing the simulation stuff. Whatever I’m doing, I want to be part of a winning team. Nothing was going to drag me away from here."
The Clash will air live on FS1 tonight at 8 p.m. ET and will also be available on MRN and SiriusXM Radio.