Many were questioning whether Alex Bowman was the correct choice to drive the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports after he struggled through the first nine races in 2019. During that horrid stretch, Bowman didn’t record a single top-10 finish. Now, as Bowman leaves Delaware he is riding on the high of finishing second two weeks in a row and his critics have now become his admirers.
Bowman followed his teammate Chase Elliott to the checkered flag at Talladega a week ago, but Bowman’s performance in Monday’s Gander RV 400 at Dover was particularly eye-opening.
Bowman rolled off from the rear of the field after his No. 88 machine failed Sunday’s pre-race inspection, However, Bowman wasted little time rocketing to the front. By the end of lap 120, which signaled the end of Stage 1, Bowman had worked his way to seventh-place.
From there, it was smooth sailing for Bowman.
The 26-year-old kept inching his way forward through the field and with 17 laps remaining in Stage 2, he passed his teammate Elliott for the lead. Unfortunately Bowman would lead 16 laps before Martin Truex Jr. muscled his way around for the Stage win. However, Bowman would hang tough and would be the only threat for Truex the rest of the race.
As Truex ripped apart the tires on his No. 19 Toyota, Bowman was about as happy as a second-place finisher could be following the race.
“It would be better if we had a trophy, right? But, we needed this, for sure,” said Bowman. “Talladega is a speedway and it’s a lot of luck involved. But to come here to, in my opinion the hardest race track we go do, and run like that from the back of all things, was pretty special. I’m just proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for all the improvement we’ve made over the last year or so and we’re going to keep it going.”
Bowman, who has finished in every possible finishing position except first (2nd thru 40th) in his young career will look to chase that elusive first-career win Saturday night at Kansas Speedway.