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FONTANA, Calif. – All along, Alex Bowman has viewed the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series season as a fresh start – an opportunity to continue to improve his performance even after a 2018 campaign that saw him make the playoffs for the first time in his career.

But in advance of this weekend’s upcoming race at Martinsville Speedway, he’s looking back at last year for inspiration.

“I like Martinsville a lot,” the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 said. “We ran really well there in the spring and had some struggles in the fall. I think we can go there and be really strong. That was kind of the first place where we really ran decent last year.”

Last year, Bowman’s first top-10 finish of the season came in the March race at Martinsville, when he started 16th and raced his way up to seventh before the checkered flag waved.

This year, he has yet to earn a top-10 as the series heads to Martinsville, though he started the season with three consecutive top-15 finishes, including two just outside of the top 10 in 11th.

He knows the organization is hard at work to help improve those finishes.

“We have a lot of smart people and a lot of people working really hard to get our race cars better,” Bowman said. “I think we can get turned back around and pointed in the right direction.”

He’s hoping that begins this weekend at a track where Hendrick Motorsports owns 24 wins – its most at any venue.

“I’m pretty confident going into Martinsville,” Bowman said. “I’m looking forward to it.”