DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Qualifying didn’t come easily for Alex Bowman early in his career.
But you wouldn’t know that from his recent record.
He’s won poles in two of his last three NASCAR Cup Series races, including this year’s Daytona 500.
“When I first started racing stock cars I was terrible at it but picked it up somewhere along the way and have been pretty successful at it,” Bowman said. “Obviously, a speedway pole has very little to do with the driver and much more to do with the car, but I’ll take it. Two of the last three is not so bad.”
Bowman’s qualifying effort marked the fourth Daytona 500 pole in a row for Hendrick Motorsports. Jeff Gordon won the pole in 2015 with Chase Elliott winning back to back poles in 2016 and 2017.
And four in a row had the man in charge fired up.
“Mr. H was pumped,” Bowman said of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick. “Obviously, to get the fourth consecutive pole for Hendrick Motorsports at the Daytona 500 was really special. To have everybody from Chevrolet there and getting the ZL1 its first pole as well was really cool.”
All weekend long, Bowman had no doubts about what his team could accomplish. Running a fast car in all their practice sessions the day prior to qualifying, the team had high expectations with one goal on its mind.
“Well, we were there sit on the pole,” Bowman said. “(No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) was really happy with the speed we showed. When you make one run in final practice and park it, you know you’re pretty confident.”
With the No. 88 team’s pole, Hendrick Motorsports now owns 20 percent of all Daytona 500 poles – a record 12 of 60. It was a piece of history not lost on Bowman.
“It’s really cool to be a small part of that,” the driver said. “Obviously, it just speaks volumes about the quality of race car that Hendrick Motorsports brings to the racetrack every week, and the passion that Mr. H has to put the best race cars on the track.”