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CONCORD, N.C. -- As he was set to take over as the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports, Alex Bowman joked that many people thought he would be in the running for rookie of the year in 2018.

But Bowman is far from a rookie.

This weekend at Kentucky Speedway, he will make his 100th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

"It is crazy to think that it has already been 100 races!" Bowman said.

And this season has already been a career one for the 25-year-old driver. Through 18 races in 2018, Bowman has earned a career-best finish on a track 12 times, including each of the last four races. He is currently on the longest top-10 streak of his career with three consecutive top-10 results. During that three-race span, he ranks fifth in points earned among all Cup Series drivers.

In his career, all 10 of the driver’s top-10s, both of his pole awards and his top-five finish have come while competing for Hendrick Motorsports in 2018 and as a fill-in driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10 races in 2016. Bowman has led a total of 269 laps in the series, with 266 of those coming while driving the No. 88 for Hendrick Motorsports.

"The journey to get to where I am today was rough at times, but I was able to learn and get track time with any team I was with," Bowman said. "Being with Hendrick Motorsports now is a dream come true and I am happy that my 100th race is with them and the No. 88 team."

Of late, Bowman and the No. 88 team have put together a string of successful races, evidenced by three consecutive top-10 results. The driver has also finished inside the top 10 in the last two events on a 1.5-mile tracks, a category into which Kentucky falls. Four of Bowman’s six top-10 stage finishes this season have come in the last five races.

He hopes to continue to build on that momentum this weekend at Kentucky, the only track on the Cup Series circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win.

"We have finally seemed to put races all the way together the last three weeks, not have any big mistakes and finished where we deserved to finish," Bowman said. "If we can just continue to get better every week, I think we can be a contender by the end of the year."