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CONCORD, N.C. – Prior to heading to Bristol Motor Speedway for this weekend’s race, Alex Bowman made a quick pit stop in the Lone Star State.

Bowman and the No. 88 team spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway, participating in a Goodyear tire test at the 1.5-mile track.

“We’ve gathered a lot of different data for them on different tires,” Bowman said after the event. “I’m just trying to give them the best feedback I can and as far as what I feel on each tire and what it does.”

The tire test comes at a pivotal point of the NASCAR Cup Series season.

Only three regular season races remain before the 16-driver playoff field will be set, and currently, Bowman holds the 16th and final playoff position.

He has a 62-point cushion ahead of the cutoff line, but the driver isn’t making any playoff guarantees just yet.

“I don’t think I’ll be comfortable by any means until the checkered flag flies at Indy (final regular-season race),” Bowman said.

Though there’s been ups and downs in the 2018 Cup Series season, Bowman continues to see improvement week to week. Even with a 19th-place finish last weekend at Michigan, he’s hopeful he and the No. 88 team will take positives from that experience going forward.

“We made a good bit of progress this past weekend at Michigan,” the driver said. “Watkins Glen didn’t really go our way either, but we’re getting better.”

In the last eight races, Bowman has captured one top-five finish, four top-10s and six top-15 finishes – the same statistics he amassed over the first 15 races of the season. 

His top-five result came at Pocono three weeks ago, where he finished third to earn his best career Cup Series finish.

And as the playoffs approach rapidly, he commended the No. 88 team for their continued hard work and determination week in and week out.

“Our race cars are getting better,” Bowman said. “Our whole team is working really well together. We’re going in the right direction.”