|Alex Bowman in fall of 2016 at Phoenix: Pole, finished 6th|
“It’s really cool to be racing at home in Arizona. The food is better out there. The racetrack is better. I get to see a lot of my family. So, it’s always cool to go home. We have a little redemption for there anyway. We should have won there a couple of years ago. Hopefully, we can make that happen, but it’s always cool to go home.”
Bowman on what it takes to be successful at ISM Raceway:
“Honestly, I think in the race a lot of it comes down the forward drive. Guys get their cars turned really well and can’t get off the corner at all. Being able to commit to the throttle on both ends, as well as keeping your car turning, just being able to commit hard to the throttle seems to be really important at Phoenix.”
Driver Alex Bowman
Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
RETURNING HOME: Alex Bowman returns to his home state this weekend when the NASCAR Cup Series competes at ISM Raceway in Arizona. He grew up approximately 124 miles from the one-mile track in Tucson, Arizona, where his father still owns a body shop. Bowman cut his teeth racing West Coast sprint cars before transitioning to stock cars and ultimately NASCAR.
SEEKING REDEMPTION: Bowman remembers the fall 2016 NASCAR Cup Series event at ISM Raceway like it was yesterday and has wanted to get back in the No. 88 machine at the track ever since. Subbing for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016, Bowman sat on the pole for the fall event at the track and led a race-high 194 laps. In overtime, the No. 88 Chevrolet made contact with Matt Kenseth, which resulted in a career-best sixth-place finish for Bowman. His 194 laps led were the most for a Hendrick Motorsports driver since Jimmie Johnson led 272 laps at Dover in June 2014.
HOME TRACK STATS: The 24-year-old has five previous Cup Series starts at the one-mile facility, with his best finish of sixth coming back in 2016. Bowman finished eighth last fall in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway, his best finish out of six starts in the series.
NATIONWIDE CAMARO ZL1: The Nationwide paint scheme is back on board the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 this weekend at ISM Raceway. Nationwide was last on the car this past weekend in Las Vegas, where Bowman qualified 20th and finished 16th. The blue-and-white paint scheme will also adorn the No. 88 machine next weekend in California, rounding out #NASCARGoesWest.
IVES AT ISM RACEWAY: Greg Ives has called the shots six times for the No. 88 team at ISM Raceway. The crew chief's ISM Raceway résumé in the Cup Series includes one win with Earnhardt back in 2015, two top-five finishes and four top-10s. The Michigan native has also been atop the pit box for four events in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, claiming two top-five results and three top-10s.
LAS VEGAS REWIND: Alex Bowman qualified 20th for the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last Friday. The team ran inside the top 20 during the majority of the 400-mile event, but with 65 laps remaining, Bowman moved into the free pass position as the first car a lap down. The cautions never materialized for the Nationwide team and Bowman brought home a 16th-place finish.
MICAH ROBERTS PREDICTION/ODDS/TAKE: 15TH, 40/1, #88 Alex Bowman - The dude is from Arizona and he had his best Cup Series performance (84 starts) at Phoenix filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr in 2016 with sixth place after starting from the pole. The No. 88 finished 10th in the fall and 14th in the spring with Junior driving. He wouldn't be the worst bet on the board and you've got some long shot ammunition going for you siding with him.