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CONCORD, N.C. – When Alex Bowman put together back-to-back runner-up results at Talladega and Dover, he could feel how much energy it provided the entire No. 88 team when he stepped into the race shop.

Certainly the energy was still there when he made it three straight second-place finishes, but something was a little different after his near-win at Kansas Speedway last weekend.

“This week I kind of feel like we gave one away, so that’s still frustrating,” Bowman said. “Obviously, it’s a better problem to have. I think we’ve been unloading way closer. Our cars have been way better, we’ve just got to capitalize on it.”

In the process, Bowman has climbed up to 12th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings.

This Saturday, the schedule takes a break from points races for the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Even without a chance to move even higher in the standings, Bowman doesn’t mind the opportunity ahead of him this weekend.

“It’s just cool to be a part of something special like that, it being kind of different,” the driver said. “It pays a million bucks to win the All-Star, so I’ll take momentum any week I can get it.”

Just like last year, Bowman will compete in the Open qualifying event on Saturday looking to race his way into the main event. If he wins any of the Open’s three stages, he would move on to the All-Star Race. In 2018, he won the very first stage to advance.

He could also join the All-Star field via the fan vote, and, according to NASCAR, he was at the top of those standings on Thursday.

“We just keep unloading with good speed, and (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives) has made really good changes with the cars,” Bowman said. “At Kansas we unloaded a little off but we were able to get right there really quickly. Just having speed everywhere we’ve gone lately has been really good.”

That will be put to the test once again this Saturday. The Open is scheduled for 6 p.m. ET with the All-Star Race up next at 8 p.m. ET. Both races will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.