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In the Hot Seat: Alex Bowman

Alex Bowman gives it his all for Rick Hendrick, team owner of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Alex Bowman is all about being all-in with anything he does from racing to his outreach with homeless pets.

When the Tucson, Arizona native is on the track, he muscles his way to the front in his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. The 30-year-old racer gives it all he has for his Hendrick Motorsports team each weekend throughout the NASCAR Cup Series season.

Then again, Bowman has fought hard to be where he is as a competitive stock car racer. As a 21-year-old rookier racer in 2014, he was paying his dues with a fledgling operation while learning the ropes of NASCAR’s top level.

In those early years, Bowman kept his head up, pushing forward while maximizing each opportunity. At age 23, Bowman showcased his prowess when he drove in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s steed, earning a pole position at Phoenix Raceway and three top 10 results.

By this point, he showcased his reliability, sharp race craft and ability to adapt to any difficult scenario. Following Earnhardt’s retirement in 2017, Bowman was named as his successor in the then No. 88 ride.

Tallying two wins in 2019 and 2020, Bowman’s team was re-numbered to the legendary No. 48 ride made famous by Jimmie Johnson. Despite driving another legacy number, Bowman has established his legacy as a smooth, methodical yet tenacious driver.

Although this season has been a difficult one for Bowman, he has kept his head up. Likewise, he has gelled with new crew chief Blake Harris as they work to find their rhythm to close out this year.

Off the track, Bowman is a champion for pets looking for new, loving homes. He raised his canine companion, Roscoe, to have the best life possible. To this day, he continually gives Finn many happy days and adventures.

Altogether, Bowman balances his priorities and worlds as efficient as he does with his on track efforts. Prior to finishing 12th in Sunday’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, he returned “In the Hot Seat” on The Podium Finish to talk about his season, being a positive steward for pets and working with Ally.

Rob Tiongson: Welcome back to another edition of “At the Track” here with The Podium Finish’s Rob Tiongson here with Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro Zl1. How you doing, my friend?

Alex Bowman: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me.

Tiongson: Always a pleasure. And it’s been a year, but a lot of changes. You have a new crew chief. Everything’s going well with that?

Prior to the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 400 at Texas, Blake Harris confers with Rick Hendrick while Alex Bowman gets in game face mode. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Alex Bowman: Yeah, for sure. Working with Blake has been awesome. We had a really strong start to the year and then I broke my back and it threw the season into a mess. But we’ve had some good runs lately. We’re struggling with speed a little bit, but I think we’ve got a pretty good racecar here today in Texas.

Tiongson: What is it about Texas that makes it so tricky for drivers like yourself?

Bowman: The groove is really narrow. They reconfigured this racetrack in a really interesting way. And it really created this super narrow groove. They’ve tried to spray it with things to widen the groove out, and now they’ve stopped that.

So where the groove had widened out a little bit is even slicker than before. So I’m just trying to get ahold of it. It is tough. There’s not much room for error. But we’ve got a good Ally Chevrolet.

Tiongson: I’ve imagined so just because Hendrick Motorsports puts a lot of commitment at doing well at every track and the intermediate track programs are pretty good this year.

Now what’s been the key difference maker for you guys being so strong in these tracks?

Bowman: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think, we’ve been to a lot of places where we’ve been fast this year. Lately, we’ve been struggling a little bit.

But mile and a half’s kind of suit my driving style quite a bit. So, we’ve never had a phenomenal day here in Texas, but I think today, we’ll be there.

Tiongson: Let’s hope for it to be a better day because you deserve one. This track owes you one, I would say.

Bowman: Yeah. After last year, I would say so.

Tiongson: We hope we weren’t a jinx to you last year.

Bowman: We’re going to find out this afternoon.

Tiongson: Because if I am, I’m going to be really ashamed of myself.

But talking about serious matters here, Ally’s been really supportive of you since 2021. How has it been like to work with such a sponsor that’s so engaging with you, the fans and industry?

The “Bad Boys” of NBA, the Detroit Pistons, featured on Alex Bowman’s No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro Z1 at Michigan. (Photo: Wayne Riegle | The Podium Finish)

Bowman: Yeah, for sure. Working with Ally has been super fun. They’ve kind of been all in and kind of let me steer the ship a little bit. So that’s been neat.

We’ve raised a couple hundred thousand dollars for homeless pets. They’re a big supporter of the open wheel program with me, and we’ve got to do a lot of cool stuff together. So, looking forward to the future.

Tiongson: I love the activations you guys have had this year. In Michigan, you guys had that Detroit Pistons paint scheme.

Did you get to meet some of the players and do some shootaround with them?

Bowman: Yeah, for sure. That was really neat. I’m not a basketball player by any means. But getting to hang out with some of those guys was really cool.

I got to film a couple videos with them, which was super fun and honestly, that was a really good race for us until we got crashed. So, it was definitely one of the coolest cars I’ve run.

Tiongson: I think that was really cool. And take it from me, folks. I’m a Boston Celtics fan. It was OK for me to see the bad boys on this car for a change.

Let’s talk about the Best Friends foundation, which I think is so cool because a lot of folks who don’t have animals or pets are thinking, “Well, why do people get so attached to them?” But then you realize what this organization does.

How meaningful is it for you as a pet owner knowing what they’re doing for these animals to have happy new homes?

Earlier this year, Alex Bowman drove the No. 48 Ally/Best Friends Society Chevrolet Camaro in front of his home state fans at Phoenix Raceway. (Photo: Christopher Vargas | The Podium Finish)

Bowman: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think homeless animals is a big problem across the whole world. And Best Friends, they’re trying to end kill shelters by 2025, which is a lofty goal. But hopefully we can make it happen

It’s tough. There are millions of homeless pets. We’re just trying to get them all better homes and a better chance at life.

It hits home for me. I had a rescue dog named Roscoe. He passed away about a month ago. It’s definitely something that means a lot to me.

And the money that we’ve been able to raise, it’s been really special. And when your appearances are going to animal shelters and hanging out with different animals, it’s never a bad thing either.

Tiongson: It’s not. They enrich your life in so many ways. You mentioned about Roscoe, and we miss him a lot and I know you do too. But you’ve got Finn around. How’s he been doing?

Bowman: Finn’s doing great. He’s living his best life. He’s the laziest dog ever, so he’s just chilling. But, yeah, he’s doing really well.

Tiongson: I believe he’s a Labrador Retriever mix?

Bowman: Yeah, he’s a lab. I feel like a lot of labs are really high energy. And he’s not that. He’s just hanging out.

Tiongson: Well, he helped you win a race a few years ago, didn’t he?

Bowman: On iRacing, yeah. Yeah, for sure. I was so bad at the iRacing Pro Invitational that whenever I crashed, I just blame my dogs.

I wish I could do that here this season. But unfortunately, I don’t think people would buy it.

Tiongson: Well, we’ll try to wait on The Podium Finish to do that for Alex because we know he’s your driver for sure. Going back to the Best Friends Foundation, I know you got the situation with your dogs, but what’s one of the more engaging stories that you have experienced firsthand?

Bowman: It’s just the fact that it really hasn’t taken a ton of effort. We’ve raised so much money for homeless pets. That’s been really cool to see how much we’ve been able to raise and how that’s been able to help give these pets better lives.

So that’s been neat. It’s hard to pick one story or one shelter that we work with. I’ve had to go to a bunch of them, but it’s just been really cool.

Tiongson: That sounds like a really fun thing to do. Now, I know you’re a busy man on this day, so I’ve got a couple more questions before we wrap things up here.

What’s been the most memorable advice that Mr. H. Has given to you that stands out to your mind?

Rick Hendrick empowers Alex Bowman and those within his team and dealerships to give it their all. (Photo: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Bowman: Oh, man. I was not prepared. There’s always good advice from Mr. H. I think, really, the biggest takeaway from him is just how good he is at leading.

Whether it’s Hendrick Motorsports or Automotive Group or whatever he’s doing, he’s just a great leader. So just trying to take away bits and pieces of how he handles people and how he speaks to people. It’s definitely great.

Tiongson: And all that is definitely good. Sounds like a really great man for sure. And that’s why you guys hustle hard for him each weekend.

Bowman: Yeah, for sure.

Tiongson: If Sirius XM said, “Hey, Alex, we want you to be a guest DJ for a Sunday afternoon (during) off season time.” What kind of music would you be playing?

Bowman: A little bit of everything lately. Somehow, I’ve gotten onto a country thing which is kind of way off for me. But I’ve always been like a post-hardcore hard rock guy. But it’s been country music lately but got a little bit of everything.

Tiongson: So that Jelly, whatever his name is, guy, you’re going to listen to him later on?

Bowman: Yeah, sure. I’m in!

Tiongson: I don’t even know who he is, but let’s just say you’re gonna do that. Do you have anything you want to say to the fans before we wrap it up?

The unmistakable purple and white colors of Ally make Alex Bowman stand out each weekend. (Photo: Dylan Nadwodny | The Podium Finish)

Bowman: No, thanks for having me on. Always good to see you.

Tiongson: And next time, he’ll let me in the motor coach unlike Steve Byrnes. So we’ll make it happen. But appreciate it, my man.

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Alex Bowman for taking time on Sunday morning for his latest “In the Hot Seat” appearance at Texas Motor Speedway. Also, special thanks to Jaret Arneson and Jon Edwards for their kindness and support!

Additionally, along with The Podium Finish, keep up-to-date on Alex on his social media channels via FacebookInstagram and X!

This interview, edited for length and clarity, will air on The Podium Finish Live! podcast and is available to watch on YouTube!

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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