CONCORD, N.C. – Some drivers have a certain comfort level at particular tracks. Things just click into place from the second they get behind the wheel.
For Alex Bowman, Kansas Speedway has been that venue. His success at Kansas goes back to the ARCA Menards Series when he won races there in 2011 and 2012.
"Kansas was the first 1.5-mile track I went to in a stock car," Bowman said. "I’ve won some ARCA races there on the old configuration and the new configuration. Just a place that I’ve always really enjoyed. You can move around a lot. It’s almost too top-dominant and you end right up against the fence all day.
"We’ve had success there and led some laps there. Hopefully going back, we can be even better. It would be pretty special to get a win there.”
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Since becoming a full-time driver at Hendrick Motorsports in 2018, the 1.5-mile track has been his best oval venue on the current schedule. Over the last 10 races there, the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has three top-five finishes (tied for seventh-most), six top-10s (tied for fourth-most), an 8.33 average finish (fifth-most), 183 laps led (sixth-most) and 305 points (eighth-most). With a fractured vertebra keeping him sidelined for the spring race in 2023, Bowman did not get a chance to add to those totals in May.
In his most recent race at Kansas, which was last year’s middle race in the Round of 16, Bowman earned his best result of the 2022 playoffs. The 30-year-old driver led a race-high 107 laps, earned a stage win and finished fourth. It also marked the second time that the Tucson, Arizona, native earned top 10s in both Kansas races in one year. Based on NASCAR’s loop data in the 2022 playoff race, Bowman was the second-fastest driver early in a run and the third-fastest driver late in a run at the Kansas City, Kansas venue.
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While all of those results came with Greg Ives, Blake Harris will be making his first trip to Kansas with Bowman. In the spring race, Josh Berry was in the car with Bowman out. The Bowman-Harris duo just experienced another track for the first time together at Darlington Raceway. Despite a 33rd-place finish at the South Carolina track, the team showed speed as Bowman ran the seventh-most fastest laps (16) of the race and was running in the top 10 before being involved in an incident.
"This weekend, we get to go to his best track and take a swing at a place he feels really good at, which is exciting," Harris said. "The notebook Hendrick Motorsports has for this weekend has been good. If we just keep our same routine and execute where we know we can, there is no reason we can’t go fight for a win this Sunday."
The 1.5-mile tracks have been good to Bowman this year. He has the fourth-best average finish (7.50) on that track length. A third-place finish, which is his best result of the season to date, came at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March, another 1.5-mile facility on the schedule.
Tune in to watch Bowman look to add to his Kansas stat sheet on Sunday, Sept. 10, at 3 p.m. ET on USA Network, NBC Sports App, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).