Tucson’s Alex Bowman Sits on Daytona 500 Front Row for Fifth Straight Year

It’s no secret that Hendrick Motorsports brings rocketships to the Daytona 500.

For the seventh time in eight years, HMS has nabbed the pole starting spot for The Great American race, and in the 2022 edition, all four of their drivers set five of the fastest lap times.

In the slew of Hendrick success also sits Tucson native, Alex Bowman, locked into the front row of the Daytona 500 for the fifth straight year. The 28-year-old earned his first career Daytona 500 pole in last year’s race and nearly went back-to-back, falling just 0.031 seconds short of the quick time set by defending Cup Series Champion, Kyle Larson.

“It’s unbelievable,” Bowman said of the record. “It just says so much about Hendrick Motorsports and these guys. It’s cool to have the record but I feel like Greg Ives and the race team should get the credit. The driver doesn’t do much.”

“I was talking to [car owner, Rick Hendrick] on the phone afterward, he’s like, ‘you tell everybody that I love being on the front row down there,'” Bowman said.

The No. 48 car ripped around the 2.5-mile oval in single-car qualifying in 49.711 seconds, averaging 181.046 mph.

Last year’s Daytona 500 pole was the first event for Bowman after taking over the reins of the legendary No. 48 team. Bowman succeeded seven-time champion, Jimmie Johnson, following his retirement at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Bowman would lead the team back to a sense of its former glory, claiming four victories in 2021.

After the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman was called to take the seat of the No. 88 and scored the 2018 Daytona 500 pole in his first full season with the team. Bowman finished 17th in the Daytona 500 that year and led 13 laps, the most laps Bowman has led in a single Daytona race. The best career Daytona 500 finish for the Tucson-native was 11th place in 2019.

Bowman attended Ironwood Ridge High School in Tucson and raced both pavement and dirt open-wheel cars, including in the final night of legendary Phoenix race track, Manzanita Speedway. Bowman became the first-ever Arizonan to claim a Cup Series win at Chicagoland in June of 2019.

A Daytona 500 win would make him the 41st driver to hoist the Daytona 500 trophy, following fellow Arizonan, Michael McDowell and his 500 win last February. A win would also lock Bowman into the 2022 NASCAR Playoffs earning him an opportunity to race his way to the NASCAR championship at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6.

The 64th running of the Daytona 500 drops the green flag at 12:30 MST on FOX. Sports360AZ will be covering the entire week on our San Tan Ford Road Trip including Thursday’s Duel races, Friday’s Truck Series race, Saturday’s ARCA Series and Xfinity Series races, and the Great American Race on Sunday.

Qualifying results for the 42 entries of the Daytona 500 are below. Glendale’s defending Daytona 500 Champion, Michael McDowell qualified 22nd, placing him in the 11th starting spot in Duel #2 on Thursday, locked into Sunday’s race. Phoenix’s J.J. Yeley qualified 41st and must beat Kaz Grala with Floyd Mayweather’s team, in Duel #1 to be eligible to race on Sunday.

  1. (5) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 181.159 mph.

  2. (48) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 181.046 mph.

  3. (24) William Byron Jr., Chevrolet, 180.850 mph.

  4. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 180.527 mph.

  5. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 180.314 mph.

  6. (19) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 180.040 mph.

  7. (1) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 179.845 mph.

  8. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 179.723 mph.

  9. (99) Daniel Suarez, Chevrolet, 179.619 mph.

  10. (21) Harrison Burton #, Ford, 179.508 mph.

  11. (16) Daniel Hemric(i), Chevrolet, 179.429 mph.

  12. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 179.426 mph.

  13. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 179.419 mph.

  14. (20) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 179.329 mph.

  15. (8) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 179.315 mph.

  16. (23) Bubba Wallace, Toyota, 179.297 mph.

  17. (6) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 179.297 mph.

  18. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 179.276 mph.

  19. (14) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 179.272 mph.

  20. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 179.269 mph.

  21. (2) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 179.265 mph.

  22. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 179.251 mph.

  23. (43) Erik Jones, Chevrolet, 179.219 mph.

  24. (42) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 179.194 mph.

  25. (45) Kurt Busch, Toyota, 178.980 mph.

  26. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 178.884 mph.

  27. (31) Justin Haley, Chevrolet, 178.873 mph.

  28. (17) Chris Buescher, Ford, 178.649 mph.

  29. (41) Cole Custer, Ford, 178.080 mph.

  30. (7) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 178.042 mph.

  31. (38) Todd Gilliland #, Ford, 178.010 mph.

  32. (47) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chevrolet, 177.729 mph.

  33. (62) Noah Gragson(i), Chevrolet, 177.553 mph.

  34. (77) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 176.873 mph.

  35. (51) Cody Ware, Ford, 176.720 mph.

  36. (27) Jacques Villeneuve(i), Ford, 176.436 mph.

  37. (50) Kaz Grala(i), Chevrolet, 176.146 mph.

  38. (44) Greg Biffle(i), Chevrolet, 176.125 mph.

  39. (78) BJ McLeod, Ford, 175.943 mph.

  40. (15) David Ragan, Ford, 175.726 mph.

  41. (55) JJ Yeley(i), Ford, 173.060 mph.

  42. (66) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, 172.206 mph.

# – Rookie

(i) – Unchartered car that must qualify or race into the Daytona 500