AVONDALE, Ariz. – Alex Bowman’s strong start to the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has led to him matching a career-best mark.
Bowman's fourth straight top-10 finish at Phoenix Raceway gives him four in a row to start the season. He is the only driver to open the 2023 season with finishes all in the top 10.
Bowman is enjoying his finest start to a season. It began with a 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. Returning to his home track, the Tucson, Arizona, native finished ninth on Sunday.
The 29-year-old has had a streak of four straight top 10s on four other occurrences: Once in 2019, twice in 2020 and once in 2021, highlighted by his win at Dover Motor Speedway where the team swept the top four spots.
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His four top 10s to start a season is also one of seven instances of such a run in the history of Hendrick Motorsports. The others belong to Ricky Rudd (1991), Terry Labonte (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2005 and 2006), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2013) and Jeff Gordon (2014).
Under new crew chief Blake Harris, Bowman has an average finish of 6.25 through the opening four races. The duo have gotten off to a fabulous start together that goes back to the exhibition Clash at the Coliseum where Bowman finished fourth in the main event. Harris, who came over from Front Row Motorsports, took over for the retired Greg Ives for the 2023 season.
"To see them click as early as they have," Gordon, the vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, said of the Bowman-Harris pairing. "I think one of the reasons why that worked was because of the confidence both Alex had in Blake and Blake had in Alex. It’s nice to see that’s paying off for them on the racetrack."
Over the last two races, Hendrick Motorsports has been clicking as a whole. In addition to the top-three sweep at Las Vegas, all four cars placed in the top 10 at Phoenix. The organization has led 506 of a possible 588 laps (86.1%) and has scored both race wins (by William Byron) and four stage wins in that span.