CONCORD, N.C. – With three consecutive top-10 finishes to open the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, Alex Bowman and the No. 48 Ally Racing team are a roll out of the gate. 

He started the year with fifth-place run in the DAYTONA 500 - after winning the pole and he became the first pole sitter to finish in the top five since Bill Elliott in 2001. An eighth-place finish at Auto Club Speedway kicked off the West Coast swing and was backed up by a third-place finish to complete a top-three sweep at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

RELATED: Viewer's guide, fast facts for Phoenix

The last Hendrick Motorsports driver to score three top-10 finishes out of the gate in a season was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2015. Interestingly enough, he did with a new crew chief in Greg Ives. Bowman is accomplishing his start with a new crew chief as well as Blake Harris took over for the retired Greg Ives. 

By the numbers, the 29-year-old's early run of success looks even better on paper. Through the first three races, Bowman is second in the point standings, has earned one pole, two top-five finishes, an average finish of 5.3 and has led at least one lap in each event. He ranks fourth in both laps run in the top five (285) and laps run in the top 10 (428). Add all of that up and it is the best start he has had to a Cup Series season.  

This weekend’s race marks a return to a familiar landscape for the Tucson, Arizona, native: Phoenix Raceway. Bowman first turned heads at this track in 2016 during his stint subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. He won the pole position, led a career-best 194 laps and scored his track-best sixth-place finish. Despite previous runs not ending with a trophy, Bowman returns to his home state eager to capitalize on his current form.

RELATED: Look back at every Hendrick Motorsports win at Phoenix

"We have started off this season really strong and Phoenix (Raceway) is a place I have circled on my calendar," Bowman said. "I ran good there once and haven’t had that kind of performance since then, so I am always eager to get back there and try to find success with it being my home track.

"Blake (Harris) and I are doing all we can to get ready for the race. I know the team is putting in the work to get our No. 48 Ally Chevy ready to hit the track. I am just ready to get hit the track and get my redemption."

Bowman’s trip back to the Arizona desert will also feature a special paint scheme reflecting his work with Best Friends Animal Society in conjunction with primary partner Ally. Since 2021, the driver of the No. 48 entry and Ally have paired together to donate $362,000 to the organization. Ally and Bowman are committed to donating $4,800 each week to Best Friends and a local network partner in that week's race market with the total increasing to $10,000 if Bowman wins the race.

RELATED: See the Ally Best Friends paint scheme for Alex Bowman at Phoenix

A key difference maker early in the season has been Harris. Last October, Hendrick Motorsports named him as the crew chief for the No. 48 for the 2023 campaign. The 36-year-old came over from Front Row Motorsports where he guided Michael McDowell to career bests in top 10s and average finish. 

In the first two West Coast races, Harris has guided Bowman to 85 points -- second-most in the series. The pit crew has been firing on all cylinders as well. The five-man crew of Andrew Bridgeforth (rear-tire changer), Jacob Conley (fuler), Allen Holman (jackman), Scott Riddle (tire carrier) and Donnie Tasser (front-tire changer) are responsible for the fastest four-tire pit stop so far this season at 9.7763 seconds (at Las Vegas). 

RELATED: Go behind the scenes with the pit crews of Hendrick Motorsports

Despite these numbers pointing the team in the right direction, Harris approaches the year through the lens of execution. He believes in his team to get the job done when it matters most. The performance on the racetrack also leads to stage points, which will be a vital part of not only reaching the playoffs but advancing through the elimination format once there. 

"Having fast race cars and track position is really giving us the chance to capitalize early in the season," Harris said. We focused on execution throughout the races and have been able to stay up front. We have scored stage points in every stage except one at Daytona (International Speedway). Being able to get a top 10 in the first three points races this season is really important.

"You have to be able to score stage points and have to have good finishes to put yourself in a prime position to make the playoffs, which is our focus. That is certainly something we plan on continuing at Phoenix (Raceway). Our expectation is to run in the top 10 and be able to capitalize at the end of the race."

Tune in on Sunday, March 12, to see the entire No. 48 Ally Racing team in action at Phoenix. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN Radio and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).