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CONCORD, N.C. – Alex Bowman is ready to get the 2018 season started. But before the Bowman era begins behind the wheel of the No. 88, he’ll make his second of two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts of the 2017 season.

Bowman returns to the track this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro through Hendrick Motorsports’ technical partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing.

His first race came in October at Charlotte Motor Speedway – and he won.

“I’m ready to go,” Bowman said. “Obviously, Charlotte went really well. I’m just excited to be back in a car, especially at Phoenix. We’ve run strong here in the past and never got the finishes we’d hoped for. I think we can have a really solid day.”

Coming off of his first career XFINITY win at Charlotte, the Arizona native returns to his home track with hopes of making it back to Victory Lane.

“It had been six months since I had been in a car,” Bowman said. “And there was a part of me that was like, ‘I hope I can still do this, I hope I haven’t lost anything.’ So it was a big confidence booster for me.”

Bowman said he can carry the same level of confidence to Victory Lane in Phoenix.

“The Charlotte win was great,” he said. “As far as going to Phoenix, I think we can do it again.”

The driver noted that he had seen critics opine that he didn’t deserve to take over the No. 88 car due to a lack of wins. That was just another reason the Charlotte win “felt really good.”

He’ll look to take advantage of the extra track time again this weekend at Phoenix, and his first XFINITY win has already helped him cement the mindset he’ll take to the No. 88 team next year. It’s a mindset he utilized last season while serving as a substitute driver for the team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. sidelined due to a concussion.

“Last year when I filled in for Dale, I had a blast,” Bowman said. “My goal every week was to have the most fun I possibly could and just to enjoy it because I didn’t know if I was going to get another opportunity like that. So, I think I’m just going to carry that over to next year.”

Watch Bowman tackle in his last XFINITY race of the season at Phoenix on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on NBC.