AUSTIN, TX — “Bowman the Showman.” “Alex The Great.” He’s heard it all. He doesn’t necessarily care for the nicknames, but Alex Bowman is just happy to be a race car driver in NASCAR’s premiere series. In a day and age of parity that saw 16 different drivers combine to win the 36 races last season and 6 different racers each win the first 6 races of the 2022 season, Bowman has the second most wins of any driver during this span.
One thing he wanted to do more of was when he wasn’t winning, to just finish in the top five. He’s not done a lot of that lately.
Out of the last 42 races, he has 5 wins but just 10 top fives. By comparison, Chase Elliott just scored his 25th with Kyle Larson having had 22. That and how he’s gotten those five wins is to why he’s gotten a lot of criticism of his abilities lately. They feel like fluke wins to some in the garage.
Well, what about a fluke runner-up?
For much of the final stage, it was Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger and Chase Briscoe’s race to lose. They held the top four spots for most of the second half of the race. Bowman, was third in Stage 1 after not pitting but 24th in Stage 2 after he did.
Remarkably, there he was battling for the win on the chaotic final lap. He’d come away second in his No. 48 Chevrolet.
How much of that was tied to having seat experience on Saturday?
Chastain was running second towards the end of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race. He was spun on a late race restart by Landon Cassill and finished outside the top 10. Bowman was second towards the end of the Truck Series race a few hours prior. He had a run in with Stewart Friesen and Kyle Busch.
Allmendinger won that NXS race though and there all were running for the win on the final lap in Sunday’s Cup race.
How much did running in those races help?
“I’ve been trying to do a better job as a race car driver at these road courses, and I felt like from where we started the weekend, I accomplished that,” Bowman said. “So proud of Greg (Ives) and all the guys. Hate that we can’t come away with a win, but happy for Ross getting his first win.”
Cole Custer even came to run the Xfinity race too and was having a great day before spinning late in the race while running in seventh place.
Maybe getting seat time pays off after all even if nothing really translated over other than just that, getting extra laps.
“Hate that we can’t come away with a win, but happy for Ross getting his first win,” Bowman continued. “It’s been a crap weekend, so I’m ready to get home and see the dogs and move on to next weekend. Glad to come away with a second-place finish.”
Now though, he heads to Richmond, a place where he won last year’s event. Can he go back-to-back?