Alex Bowman hasn’t necessarily been great in the past at the Pocono Raceway. He’s got one top 10 finish in four tries in fact with Hendrick Motorsports. But, part of that is, no one has necessarily been that great at Pocono with them going against the Toyota camp.
Toyota’s have won five straight on the Tricky Triangle and six of the last nine overall there. But, the Hendrick driver also feels like his No. 88 Chevrolet should be vastly improved for the two races this weekend on the 2.5-mile Pennsylvania track compared to the past as well too.
“I’m not scared,” Bowman said on Friday. “I think our cars are much better at that style of race track than we have been in the past couple of years, so I’m looking forward to getting there.
“I think our intermediate stuff and our big race track stuff has been really strong this year. Obviously, Pocono is its own thing and completely different than anywhere else we go, but at least the most similar places we go, we’ve been really strong at. So, I’m looking forward to it. I think we can be really strong. I guess we don’t know until we start the race, right? But I think we’ll be really good.”
Hendrick used to be really good at Pocono in the past anyways. In a span between 2012 and 2014, they won every race there. So, the potential is there to contend again.
“I feel like Pocono is one of the places that probably takes the most time to kind of get up to speed and to get rolling,” Bowman said of the track itself. “So, not having any practice will probably be pretty unique and the guys with a lot of experience there will maybe have a little advantage on the guys that don’t have a ton of races there.
“But, I’m looking forward to it. I think the format is neat. I’m all for no practice. We’re supposed to be the best at what we do, so I don’t know that we need the amount of practice that we used to have on normal weekends. I’m enjoying the no practice thing and I’m ready to go.”
Bowman said that for a driver to be good at Pocono, your commitment level has to be really high. Especially now with this rules package, it’s really on edge. You have some guys that commit to it and run it wide open.
“It’s really, really uncomfortable and hard to do throughout the race,” Bowman continued. “I think that’s become an added element to it, just how high your commitment level has to be for the tunnel turn. But then really just knowing what you need to split the balance between three completely different corners and knowing how to get the car there is really important.”
Bowman also said that the weekend really depends on how Saturday goes.
“Yeah, that’s a big depending on Saturday thing,” Bowman said on if there’s anything that you can do to your car between Saturday and Sunday. “The Cup cars especially are so fragile – really hard to keep clean. You can’t lean on each other without really tearing the car up in a big way. Trying to keep the car clean on Saturday is going to be really important. And then also, having a good understanding of where the race car was at the end of the race to know what we need to be better on Sunday is going to probably be the biggest way I can help Greg (Ives, crew chief).”