As Saturday night’s Advance Auto Parts Clash approaches, for many drivers, it’s the beginning of a new season. However, the opposite is true for Alex Bowman who has one more shot to show that he belongs in a ride in one of NASCAR’s top three series.
Bowman, who is 23-years-old, scored his first ever pole in NASCAR’s top series last fall at Phoenix International Raceway. He also led over half of the race but, unfortunately, was involved in a late-race incident with Matt Kenseth in the closing laps.
He spoke to the media at Daytona International Speedway Friday about his future.
“I was kind of surprised that a winning XFINITY car or something like that didn’t open up,” Bowman said. “I feel like I want to be part of a winning organization whether I am driving, just working for the team, doing testing or doing the simulation stuff.”
He has nine starts in the XFINITY series for JR Motorsports, along with five top-fives with 50 starts in his career. Former Cup driver Michael Annett will run for JRM in the No. 5 car full-time this season.
Bowman filled in for 10 races during the 2016 season as Dale Earnhardt recuperated from concussion-like symptoms and won the pole for the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in November, making him eligible for The Clash.
As a result, Earnhardt wanted to give him the chance to compete in the event by allowing Bowman to drive the No. 88 car.
“Alex did such a great job in the car this year, and I felt like he deserved another opportunity,” Earnhardt said. “When I spoke with Rick and the team about him driving The Clash, everyone agreed that he more than earned it, and Nationwide was 100 percent on board.
Earnhardt will sit out the race but will be a part of the television coverage of The Clash Saturday night, live on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Bowman is ready for the challenge that Saturday night will bring.
“I feel like we can be up front all night,” he said confidently. ”But it definitely adds some pressure to have probably the best speedway racer of our time in the booth calling the race.”
Bowman will start eighth in The Clash. The exhibition race will consist of 75 laps which will be split into two segments with a competition caution on Lap 25.