CONCORD, N.C. – Alex Bowman will take his turn behind the wheel of the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International on Sunday.
He is the last of the four NASCAR Cup Series regulars to drive the Xfinity entry in 2023. William Byron ran it to a runner-up finish at Circuit of The Americas in March, Kyle Larson finished third at Sonoma Raceway in June and Chase Elliott came home third at Pocono Raceway in July. Larson is set to make the fifth and final start for the entry next month at Darlington Raceway.
"Honestly, it is my worst road course, so just trying to get more laps to be better for Sunday," Bowman said of his Xfinity start at the New York-located road course. "Hopefully, it pays off. It should be really fast. Everywhere its gone, its been really fast. Hopefully, we can finally get a win with that thing."
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On the Cup side of things, Bowman has a best finish of 14th (on three occasions) at the 2.45-mile road course. Sitting 80 points outside of the top 16 for the Cup Series Playoffs, the Tucson, Arizona, native is looking to put together some strong runs to get into the postseason. Last Sunday's top-five finish at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course was a big step in that direction. The Indianapolis result marked his second top five of the season on a road course, with a third-place finish at Circuit of The Americas taking place in March.
"A top-five finish is good after the last couple of months," Bowman said. "Just proud of the whole No. 48 Ally Chevy team. We fell off a little too hard there in the end of the run before that, but that last run we were really fast. ... Always want more, but it was a good, solid day for us."
The Xfinity start will re-pair Bowman with crew chief Greg Ives. The duo was together for five full-time seasons in the Cup Series (2018-2022) and tallied seven wins. Earlier this year, they worked together for four races while No. 48 crew chief Blake Harris was serving a suspension (with the other Hendrick Motorsports crew chiefs).
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"It’s good to have Greg to lean on," Bowman said. "I think it should go really well and it would be really special to get that car in victory lane."
Last year, Bowman ran the Xfinity race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and finished second in the No. 17 Chevy. The 30-year-old driver has one victory in the series from a 2017 start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The No. 17 car number carries a rich history and special significance to organization. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip drove it to nine Cup Series wins for the team from 1987 to 1990, including in the 1989 DAYTONA 500. The car number was also driven by Ricky Hendrick in various races, including in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. This year, the HendrickCars.com paint scheme will again be based on the No. 17 truck driven by Hendrick during his 2001 rookie season.
In its history, Hendrick Motorsports has won one Xfinity Series championship and earned 26 wins in the series. The organization's four races in 2022 marked its first action in the series since 2009 when Tony Stewart took home the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. In its seven combined races in the series in 2022 and 2023, the No. 17 team has three poles, three runner-up finishes, six top-fives and 134 laps led.
Watch Bowman race in the No. 17 Xfinity entry at Watkins Glen on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 3:30 p.m. ET, on USA Network, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90). See Bowman drive the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevy in the Cup Series race on Sunday, Aug. 20, at 3 p.m. ET, on USA Network, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).