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SPEEDWAY, Ind. – Alex Bowman knows the playoffs aren’t a sure thing.

But as he sits 16th in the playoff standings with one race to go in the regular season, he’s proud of the No. 88 team’s perseverance all year to put itself in position to earn a spot in the postseason.

“It’s no secret it’s been a rough year for us and for all of Hendrick Motorsports, but we are still in contention for the playoffs, so that is cool to be a part of,” he said. “Vastly different than anything else I’ve done in my career or any other position I’ve been in in the Cup Series. It’s a pretty vulnerable spot coming to Indy with three guys who have won here behind you in points that haven’t won yet, but you know, I think we can get the job done just as good as they can. I’m excited. I think it would be a great thing to be a part of the playoffs and hopefully we are in it and we can go from there.”

If there is a repeat winner on Sunday, or a win by Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola or teammate Jimmie Johnson, Bowman would clinch a postseason berth on points regardless of his finish.

However, if there is a new winner outside the current 16-driver playoff grid, Bowman would need to out-point the 15th-place competitor by 20 points. If he were to earn a top-six finish at Indy, he would need to out-point the 15th-place competitor by 19 points.

“It would mean a lot to me to be in the playoffs right off the bat,” Bowman said. “Coming from what I came from and kind of going through everything I went through, to make the playoffs in my first year with Hendrick Motorsports would be really special.

“I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.”

With that in mind, Bowman’s focus is on the task at hand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and he said adding to Hendrick Motorsports’ impressive statistics in the Brickyard 400 would be “really special.”

He has faith that the No. 88 team can make it happen and find a spot in the playoffs in the process.

“I have one of the best teams in the business and we are always getting better,” he said. “I’m excited to see what we have brought to the racetrack this week and every week going forward.”