Alex Bowman has breakout year in 2019 with first Cup Series win

Alex Bowman scored his first NASCAR Cup Series win in 2019 driving his Rick Hendrick Motorsports No.88 Chevrolet to victory lane at Chicagoland Speedway on June 30.

In his second full-time season with HMS, the 26-year-old also earned seven top-fives and recorded 12 top-10 finishes. When combined with an average finish of 14.36 and 200 laps led, he had his best career season to date, ending the season ranked 12th in the standings.

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Bowman showed hints of what was to come with three back-to-back runner-up finishes in the spring at Talladega Superspeedway, Dover International Speedway and Kansas Speedway. The win at Chicagoland locked him into the Playoffs for the second consecutive year and Bowman was able to advance to the Round of 12 for the first time.

His career path has shown a steady progression particularly after becoming a member of the first NASCAR Next class in 2011. In 2012, Bowman won four races in the ARCA Series which led to his first Xfinity Series start for Turner Motorsports at Chicagoland in September.

The following year he made 32 Xfinity starts with Robby Benton Racing, capturing two poles, two top fives and six top 10s. He finished the 2013 season ranked 11th.

His Cup Series debut was with BK Racing in the 2014 Daytona 500, finishing 23rd. It was Bowman’s first full-time season in the series. His best finish of the year was 13th at Daytona in July. In 2015 he moved to Tommy Baldwin Racing with a best finish of 16th at Talladega.

2016 saw Bowman on the move again, driving in nine Xfinity races for JR Motorsports. His best finishes of the season included three top-fives, seven top 10s and one pole.

Bowman’s big break came in mid-2016 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with issues resulting from a concussion and he was selected to fill in for 10 races. During that time, he claimed three top-10s and garnered the attention of the Rick Hendrick organization. Hendrick Motorsports signed Bowman in 2016 and he soon became an integral part of the organization. While there were no openings to drive, he worked behind the scenes in the HMS simulation program and participated in on-track testing.

His dedication and work ethic paid off. After Earnhardt retired at the end of the 2017 season, Bowman was signed as the new driver of the No. 88, earning a spot with one of NASCAR’s premier teams.

“Alex impressed the heck out of us last year with his talent, poise and professionalism,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “He stepped up in a very demanding situation and showed that he can run with the best and compete for wins. His ability to stay focused through it all, and the way he’s handled himself since then, has shown a lot of character. Greg (Ives) and the team loved working with Alex, and that dynamic will get even better with more time together.

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