Coming off a career-best year in hist first full season with 12-time NASCAR Cup Series Champions Hendrick Motorsports, Alex Bowman is ready to accomplish even more in 2019. His No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race cars will carry a 20-race majority sponsorship from Nationwide with additional primary support from Axalta Coating Systems, LLumar and Valvoline.
In 2018, Bowman and the No. 88 team started the year by capturing the pole position for NASCAR’s crown jewel, the 60th running of the Daytona 500. The Tucson, Arizona, native became the third-youngest driver ever to win the Daytona 500 pole. Bowman went on to capture his career-best finish of third at Pocono Raceway as well as racing his way to personal-best finishes at 18 different venues throughout the season.
Last season, Bowman became the record eighth different driver to earn a Cup Series playoff berth with Hendrick Motorsports. Led by crew chief Greg Ives, the No. 88 team advanced to the Round of 12 following the driver’s fourth-place finish at the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course. It was the driver’s first playoff appearance in his three full-time seasons in the Cup Series.
Back in 2016, Bowman’s talent and raw speed were on full display when he received the unexpected call to race for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s perennial most popular driver, for 10 Cup Series events. Under a bright spotlight, he delivered by earning three top-10 finishes for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, including a near victory at his home track of ISM Raceway in Phoenix, where he won the pole and led a race-high 194 laps.
Even without a seat available in its four-car stable, Hendrick Motorsports quietly signed Bowman in October 2016 in an effort to keep him in the fold. The situation changed dramatically the following April when Earnhardt announced that he would retire at the end of the 2017 season. In July, Hendrick Motorsports made it official that Bowman would join the Ives-led No. 88 Chevrolet team full-time beginning in 2018.
Bowman’s ability has never been a secret in racing circles. He piled up wins driving West Coast sprint cars before a scary crash at a Las Vegas dirt track put him in intensive care and changed his focus to full-bodied stocks – and ultimately NASCAR. In 2011, he was rookie of the year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and racked up two wins in the ARCA Series, winning both races he entered.
At 19 years old, Bowman signed with legendary car owner Roger Penske. In 2012, he posted four ARCA wins and led 20 percent of the season’s total laps to earn another rookie of the year title. During the same year, he made his first NASCAR national series start in the Xfinity Series at Chicagoland Speedway.
To continue moving up the ranks, Bowman accepted an offer from BK Racing to drive in the premier NASCAR Cup Series, making his debut in the 2014 Daytona 500. He went on to start 71 Cup events over the 2014 and 2015 seasons for BKR and Tommy Baldwin Racing, which competed each week against larger multi-car teams with deeper resources. Bowman also raced twice in the 2014 Xfinity Series and once in the 2015 NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Earnhardt’s JR Motorsports team, which is affiliated with Hendrick Motorsports.
In 2016, Bowman made the most of nine Xfinity Series starts for JR Motorsports, recording one pole position, three top-five finishes and seven top-10s, in addition to being called upon by Hendrick Motorsports to race in 10 of the season’s final 18 Cup races. He debuted in Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet at New Hampshire on July 18 and earned a highest finish of sixth Nov. 13 at ISM Raceway after starting from the pole.
Bowman drove just three races in 2017 – and he made them all count, racking up three top-10 finishes that included a major milestone. After a seven-month layoff from competitive racing, he returned in the October Xfinity Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway to lead 32 laps and record his first career NASCAR national series victory. In addition to his handful of races in 2017, Bowman served as an integral part of the simulation and on-track testing programs for Hendrick Motorsports and manufacturer Chevrolet as he prepared to join crew chief Ives and the No. 88 team.
Bowman has never been afraid of hard work, having learned its value while building his own race cars and pitching in at his father’s Arizona body shop. Today, he resides in Mount Ulla, North Carolina, with his two dogs, Roscoe, a rescue Beagle mix, and Finn, a charcoal Labrador retriever. As an avid auto enthusiast, Bowman is passionate about working on both his personal cars and race cars. The driver raced in the 2019 Chili Bowl Nationals under his own banner of Alex Bowman Racing.