A dominating day out west showcased the official emergence of the Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 team and Tucson native, Alex Bowman.
Bowman opened up the weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA, boasting the fastest laps in both practice sessions and was declared by many drivers as the car to beat. Bowman proved that to be true, as no car could keep up with the Arizona-born driver’s Chevrolet.
Retweet to congratulate Alex Bowman on his win at Auto Club Speedway! pic.twitter.com/3tYqxwjpJ9
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) March 1, 2020
The former Ironwood Ridge student dominated the day, leading 110 of 200 laps and ran inside the top-seven the entire race, claiming the win by nearly nine seconds, about a full straightaway on the two-mile oval. With his second career victory, Bowman becomes one of just 132 drivers to win multiple races in the NASCAR Cup Series since it’s inception in 1949.
“The first [win] was a really enjoyable experience, then we sucked for six months,” Bowman said on FOX after the win. “We started the year so strong, I feel like I got a lot on my side that I’m doing better, my life’s a lot more organized than it was back then. I’m just so proud of this team.”
Bowman became the first-ever Arizonan to claim a Cup Series win at Chicagoland in June of 2019 and remains the only Arizona born driver to win at NASCAR’s top level. The rest of 2019 wouldn’t be as kind to Bowman, only picking up three more top-fives and was eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs in the Round of 12.
“We’ve been so good to start this season,” Bowman added in victory lane. “It just means the world to show up at a racetrack and have the first run on the race track almost be almost perfect. Man, it feels good to have one this early.”
With the victory, an apparent bet means Bowman will likely have a new tattoo along with his trophy.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 1, 2020
The 2020 season started on a high note for the 27-year-old, qualifying on the front row of the Daytona 500 for the second time in his young career. The team showed speed at Las Vegas but had to settle for 13th after a late caution took the No. 88 out of the top-three with only four laps to go.
The win locks Bowman into the NASCAR Playoffs, an elimination bracket-style postseason that takes place in the final ten races of the season. If he can advance the championship, he’ll battle for his first career championship at his home track of Phoenix Raceway.
The victory also comes one weekend before he drives back home to Phoenix Raceway for the FanShield 500. The FanShield 500 isn’t just an opportunity for Bowman’s momentum to earn himself a victory at his home track, but a chance to take notes for the championship race as well. Learn more about the Tucson native from when he joined The Inside Lane last season.
The FanShield 500 drops the green flag at Phoenix Raceway at 1:30pm Arizona Time on Sunday, March 8.
THIS FREAKING TEAM pic.twitter.com/NmuUdugXZM
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) March 1, 2020