AVONDALE, Ariz. – For Alex Bowman, there’s no place like home.
The Tuscon, Arizona, native has seen some of his greatest success at ISM Raceway in his home state.
It’s where, in November 2016, he captured his first career NASCAR Cup Series pole. In the same race, he led a career-high 194 laps en route to a career-best sixth-place finish.
And just last year, he took home another top-10 at the track, finishing eighth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“It’s always fun to come home,” Bowman said. “It’s definitely an enjoyable trip. I really enjoy this racetrack, too. Pretty successful here – wish we could close races a little better here. We have run really well here in the Xfinity Series and in the Cup Series, just never been able to close one out. Hopefully, that all changes this weekend.”
As the Bowman and the rest of the Cup Series drivers prepare to take on ISM Raceway on Sunday, he and No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives are learning from past success at the venue.
Ives’ Cup Series résumé at the track includes a win in 2015 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. behind the wheel along with two top-five finishes and four top-10s. He also has two top-five finishes and three top-10s atop the pit box in the Xfinity Series.
And Bowman said looking back at their performance together in the November 2016 race has been beneficial for this weekend.
“We have a notebook of what I liked here, and a really good one at that,” the driver explained. “We were really fast here before. I think it’s a positive. We’ve got some changes – the racecar has changed, we have the new car in the Camaro ZL1. A lot has changed, but at the same time at least we have something to kind of look back on and look at what changes I liked and didn’t like throughout practice and where our car was strong and where we needed work. I think it’s always good to have that notebook to lean on, especially here with as good of a notebook as we’ve had.”
As for the 2018 season so far, Bowman acknowledged that the team is looking for more success moving forward. But he felt progress last weekend, and he has confidence that things will continue heading in the right direction.
“To start the year, we are behind what we expected to be,” he said. “But like I said before, there is such a depth of really smart people at Hendrick Motorsports that I’m confident that we will be contending for race wins soon.”
He hopes that starts this weekend at his home track.