BRISTOL, Tenn. – Alex Bowman has steadily silenced his critics in the past two weeks in respectable fashion.
With finishes of 10th at Darlington and fourth at Kansas, Bowman has jumped from 10th to sixth in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings ahead of Saturday night’s Bristol Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET on USA and PRN).
If history is any indication for the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet team, the final race of the Round of 16 ought to treat Bowman kindly.
After all, Bowman placed sixth in the Bristol Dirt Race and fifth in last year’s Playoff Race on the concrete surface.
When considering those favorable trends, the 29-year-old Tucson, Arizona native has reasons to be confident about his chances with advancing into the Round of 12.
“I think we have a lot of momentum heading to Bristol and our team is focused on making a championship run,” Bowman said in a Hendrick Motorsports press release. “Greg (Ives) and the team back at the shop have been building really fast No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaros and our pit crew has been firing on all cylinders.
“Getting a top 10 finish at Darlington Raceway and then a top five finish at Kansas Speedway really puts our best foot forward this postseason.”
Last Sunday, Bowman was one of the dominant drivers at Kansas Speedway, leading 107 of 267 laps. Despite coming up short of a pivotal victory, the eighth year Cup racer seems to be turning up the wick at the right time.
Perhaps the steady racer is replicating his 2020 postseason performance which was smooth and steady. Placing sixth in that year’s Playoffs, the Arizonan, naturally, is looking for this year’s title.
Before Bowman and his No. 48 team can consider stock car glory, all eyes and minds will be on the stock car thrasher known as the Bristol Night Race.
If anything, a third place qualifying effort provides ample amounts of confidence for the steady wheelman.
Moreover, Bowman’s crew chief, Ives, has a healthy, realistic perspective with this critical cutoff race.
“We are in a good place heading into the elimination race at Bristol Motor Speedway; 30 points ahead of the cut line is nice but more is always good,” Ives acknowledged. “Alex has done a great job the last couple of weeks, maximizing every opportunity and getting all the points we can. We are going to approach Bristol like we do every other weekend and try to maximize points.”
A poised, quiet but crafty approach may net Bowman and his hardy team another Round of 12 appearance, a Playoff segment that may play into their hands.
While the prognosticators may have counted out Bowman and company, this Hendrick Motorsports unit believes in themselves and their chances to continue their championship quest.
Another strong finish at Bristol may be what Bowman and the No. 48 team are banking on before focusing on doing battle at Texas Motor Speedway, site of the Round of 12’s kickoff race.