CONCORD, N.C. – Having a goal to get back was important to Alex Bowman. 

Bowman will return for crew chief Greg Ives’ final race atop the pit box on Sunday, Nov. 6, at Phoenix Raceway. The driver of the No. 48 has been sidelined by a concussion from an incident at Texas Motor Speedway that has led to him missing the past five races. 

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"There was a lot of motivation to get back for a Phoenix race; my last race with Greg (Ives) as a crew chief," Bowman said during a media availability on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. "I didn't want to go out with how Texas went with Greg. I don't want to sit all off-season questioning it. I want to get back in the race car."

Ives announced at the end of August that he was stepping away from his role as a crew chief and would be moving to a different position in the Hendrick Motorsports organization. Blake Harris, currently the crew chief of the No. 34 team, will be coming aboard to lead the No. 48 squad

As he worked to get back, the seven-time Cup Series race winner went through two workouts a day at 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. He met with doctors in Pittsburgh, including Dr. Michael “Micky” Collins (who worked with Dale Earnhardt Jr. during his recovery from a concussion in 2016), to evaluate how he was progressing with his ocular system, which had been taking the longest to recoup. 

"I feel 100%," Bowman said. "I've been training harder than ever for the last couple weeks. Honestly, probably in a better spot than I was before I crashed. I'm really excited to get back." 

Bowman received support from fellow drivers as the recovery process played out. Kurt Busch, who has missed the second half of the season and is stepping away from full-time driving after a concussion from an incident at Pocono Raceway in July, has been someone Bowman has spoken with quite often. 

"A lot of the guys throughout the garage have been super helpful," Bowman said. "Whether it's Kurt (Busch) or Jeff Burton. Obviously, I've talked to Dale (Earnhardt Jr.) a lot."

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While Bowman has been sidelined, Noah Gragson has filled in as the driver for the No. 48 Ally Racing team. The 29-year-old from Tucson, Arizona, admitted seeing someone else behind the wheel of his car was the toughest part to deal with during his absence. 

Bowman watched the Martinsville race from atop the No. 48 pit box and was on the grid with his team before the 500-lap event. 

"It's cool to be back around the team," Bowman said. “I've been around the team throughout the week. I've still been going to all of the meetings and hanging out. 

"Seeing the support from the fans and everything's been really cool. I’m appreciative for the warm welcome."