CONCORD, N.C. – Last year didn’t live up to Alex Bowman’s expectations, but he’s working to change that in 2019.
Even after making the playoffs in his first full-time season with Hendrick Motorsports, the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is looking for more.
“I didn’t really achieve the goals I had set out for myself,” Bowman explained. “So, I think this year we really identified my weaknesses and tried to improve on that and tried to get our cars better.”
With the Daytona 500 less than two weeks away, it’s safe to say the offseason relaxation is long over. The new season brings new challenges and Hendrick Motorsports is relentlessly preparing for the first race of the year.
“The team is just thrashing on the race cars trying to get ready,” Bowman said.
Bowman won the pole for last year’s Daytona 500, but despite racing inside the top 10 with just two laps to go, he was involved in a multiple-car incident that sent him to a 17th-place finish.
The driver earned career-best finishes at 18 different venues in the 2018 season, a campaign in which he amassed a career-high 11 top-10 finishes. This season, he wants to continue to build on those numbers with one main goal in mind – finding Victory Lane.
“I think the biggest thing in ’19 is I’m not concerned about the playoffs or points or any of that,” he said. “I want to go contend for wins and win races. We really didn’t do that in 2018 and that was the biggest let down for me. So, I want to go run up front and build off that and go win some races.”
With new rule changes in place for the 2019 campaign, Bowman said getting a grasp on the new car setup will be crucial in the early goings in order to start strong.
“I still feel like there a lot of change this year with the rules package and everything that’s changing,” he said. “It’s a very unknown aspect of what we do. We don’t know how our race cars are going to be until we get them to the racetrack.”
It won’t be long until they do just that, with this Sunday bringing a season-opening double-header of Daytona 500 qualifying and The Clash, an exhibition race in which Bowman will be one of the competitors.
Then, the following Sunday, the Daytona 500 officially kicks off the 2019 campaign at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“I’m excited to see what we have,” Bowman said.