Alex Bowman’due south life is full of contradictions on and off the track.

Start with his dogs: Roscoe, a beagle mix, and Finn, a Labrador retriever.

“Finn is an awesome dog,” Bowman told NBC Sports in the offseason. “You can have him anywhere. Super chill. Take him to the racetrack, (he) doesn’t mind.

“Roscoe. Total opposite. … Hates all other dogs abreast Finn. Causes a scene wherever you have him. He’s like that person at the bar that is always causing a scene. That’due south my dog Roscoe. He stays at abode virtually of the time considering of that, but I love them both.”

Just as his dogs provide contrasts, so does his racing career.

Amid his victory celebration last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bowman’s career faced scrutiny considering of Kyle Busch’southward rant.

Busch, who was on the way to winning until a late caution took abroad his advantage and pit strategy gave information technology to Bowman, unleashed a string of expletives on his team’due south radio about Bowman’s seemingly expert fortune in many of his victories.

Bowman told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he and Busch talked this week and Busch — who has finished runner-up to Bowman three times — expressed that his comments were made in the heat of the moment.

Nevertheless, Bowman’s victory marked yet some other fourth dimension he won a race in the last laps.

Five of Bowman’southward vii career Cup victories accept come up when he took the lead with 10 laps or less remaining. While that shows he tin can put himself in position to win, others may view it as a sign of luck or practiced fortune and overlook his talent. Don’t exercise that.

Since the start of terminal flavour, Bowman has won five Cup races. Just Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson has more victories (11) during that time. A lack of consistency, though, has plagued Bowman and his squad since he began running full-time at Hendrick in 2018, making the narrative on Bowman more challenging to decipher.

Bowman has finished 20th or worse in 43 of his 147 starts (29.iii%) at Hendrick. This yr follows the design. He placed 24th in the Daytona 500 and 25th at Auto Club Speedway earlier winning at Las Vegas.

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Bowman knows being more consistent is key for this season, but even that might non be enough to avoid being overshadowed on his own team.

“I accept quite perchance the well-nigh talented race car driver of our generation as a teammate,” Bowman told NBC Sports final year, referring to Larson. “I have the most popular race machine driver of our generation equally a teammate (Elliott). And I take ‘Boy Wonder’ in William Byron as a teammate.

“I’m just a guy that likes to wrench on race cars, spend time at home with my dogs. I’m a very regular person. I don’t mind if the media thinks I’m fourth in line to those three because they’re all pretty special, and it’due south but cool to be their teammate.”

NASCAR Cup Series Xfinity 500

Only Bowman’southward path to Hendrick differed greatly from his teammates.

Elliott and Byron have been with Hendrick Motorsports their entire career. Larson has raced for Flake Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports since going full-fourth dimension in Cup in 2014.

Bowman’s start race was with BK Racing. His offset start came in the 2014 Daytona 500 under challenging circumstances.

“Our superspeedway cars were so slow and we weren’t locked in,” Bowman told NBC Sports about his first Daytona 500. “Talk well-nigh force per unit area in the playoffs. Try pressure beingness a broke race car commuter tying to make it, trying to make your first outset at the Daytona 500 when there’south (49) cars at that place, a bunch of guys going home.”

The first two Loving cup teams Bowman raced for — BK Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing — no longer exist. Afterwards finding out on social media he had lost his ride at Tommy Baldwin Racing shortly before the start of the 2016 season, Bowman was hired to be the commuter in the simulator for Hendrick Motorsports. After Dale Earnhardt Jr. suffered a concussion that flavor, Bowman was tabbed for 10 races.

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The next season, Bowman ran only 2 Xfinity races, spending his time in the simulator for Hendrick. He took over the No. 88 in 2018 afterwards Earnhardt retired from full-time Loving cup racing. Bowman moved to the No. 48 final season, taking over after Jimmie Johnson left to go to IndyCar.

Now, one-half his teammates have won championships. Larson and Elliott have combined to win the last two Cup titles. Could Bowman make information technology three in a row for Hendrick Motorsports this flavor?

For those who view him equally more than lucky than good, the question could seem ludicrous. But viewing Bowman as lucky misses the point. Simply wait at final week’south win at Las Vegas.

He ranked third in average running position for the race at 6.55, trailing only Ross Chastain (3.82) and Byron (6.48). Bowman did that despite a pit-road penalty for equipment interference on Lap 136 of the 274-lap race.

Bowman climbed to quaternary earlier the final caution. While those ahead of him took four tires, crew chief Greg Ives called for a two-tire stop that got Bowman off pit road behind only Larson. That put the ii winningest drivers in the series since last twelvemonth on the front row for a 2-lap shootout.

And Bowman won. It marked the third time Larson has finished second to Bowman.

Dramatic finishes are non new to Bowman. Amid his four wins last season, three came in the last x laps:

  • Bowman won at Richmond in the leap, taking the lead from Denny Hamlin with ten laps to go subsequently a restart with 12 laps left gave Bowman a take a chance.

  • Bowman won the get-go Pocono race. Larson led Bowman just a blown tire sent Larson into the wall on the concluding lap and Bowman to the win.

  • Bowman fabricated contact with Denny Hamlin in the Martinsville playoff race contesting for the lead. Hamlin spun. Bowman took the lead and led the final 8 laps.

“It was crawly final year to win four races,” Bowman told NBC Sports in the offseason. “Obviously want more than consistency. … I’m here to win trophies and Mr. Hendrick wants wins, and that’s what I’m here to deliver. While we would like to tie it together with more consistency, that’due south patently the goal for ’22, I similar trophies.”

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To win more trophies and gain that consistency, Bowman is trying new ways to be a amend driver.

“I’ve actually worked on trying to go outside my condolement zone,” he said in the offseason. “I’ve washed a lot of types of grooming. I went to a flat track motorcycle school, which is something I never idea I would do and, to be quite honest, will never exercise again.

“I fell downwards a lot, and I was way outside my comfort zone, but stuff similar that, it’s why I’g going to race cars a lot this year and race cars that I haven’t raced earlier. Just try to practise things that assistance me learn and try to do things that improve myself equally a driver for Sundays.”

As for the apartment track experience, Bowman said the track was too muddy, so the school ran on a clay bike class.

“A lot of time on the ground,” he said. “A lot of time getting actually muddy. That was really information technology. I think the biggest thing for me was trying to figure out how to lean over and not wash the forepart out. Information technology was definitely interesting.

“Very uncomfortable. Pretty much the nearly uncomfortable I’ve ever been in my life. It was rough.”

So was the early office of his Cup career, but he’due south shown the ability to win.

ii. Don’t overlook Trackhouse Racing

While much has been fabricated of Trackhouse Racing scoring a pinnacle-five finish with Daniel Suarez (fourth at Car Gild) and Ross Chastain (tertiary at Las Vegas), part of that attention is based on the squad being an underdog in the sport.

That’southward not how Chastain sees it.

“We are no underdog,” he told reporters Th.

Justin Marks’ organization is in its second season. The team expanded to a two-car operation this season. It seeks its first Cup victory. Chastain gave the organization its first stage victory final calendar week at Las Vegas.

NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 - Qualifying

NASCAR Loving cup Series Pennzoil 400 – Qualifying

While recognizing the milestone, Chastain says the team seeks bigger goals.

“The plan is and the training we’re putting in is to get to a signal where it’southward just ‘Yep, OK, we won another stage. Did nosotros win the race?”‘ Chastain said. “I don’t view us equally an underdog. We don’t feel we’re lacking anything.”

After crashing in practice at Auto Club Speedway and going to a backup car, Chastain bounced dorsum to finish third last weekend at Las Vegas and lead a career-loftier 83 laps.

Chastain said he didn’t exit Las Vegas disappointed despite non getting the win afterward such a stiff functioning.

“It was swell, it is nifty,” Chastain said of his result. “Especially coming off the start of our flavour, information technology’s exactly what we needed. … Super happy. I have no regrets. I know things I could have washed amend, I know things I could have been faster at, but as far as a whole picture, if I could have written down how the weekend would go, I would’t change anything for how it went.”

three. Sneak superlative

Justin Allgaier was among three drivers who took office in a wheel strength transducer exam terminal calendar week at Atlanta Motor Speedway, marker the terminal time drivers will be on the repaved and reconfigured track before side by side weekend’s events for Loving cup, Xfinity and the Camping Earth Truck Series.

Wheel Forcefulness Transducer Tests allow manufacturers and Goodyear to collect data using specialized vehicle mounted transducers. Each manufacture is allowed to have a car at the test to compile data. Allgaier drove Chevrolet’s machine. David Ragan drove Ford’s auto. Drew Herring drove Toyota’south automobile.

For Allgaier, information technology was his 2d time on the track. He took part in the Xfinity tire exam at that place in January.

He says the Xfinity and Loving cup cars drive differently at Atlanta.

What I can tell you is the packages between the Xfinity Series and the Cup Series are completely different,” Allgaier said. “I was actually surprised in the departure of speed and kind of how the cars drove.

“I would say the Cup car is apparently a lot faster and more on the limit of grip vs. what the Xfinity Series car was at the exam. That will be interesting to see how that all plays out. … I retrieve when y’all look at the course of the weekend, between the Trucks, Xfinity and the Cup Serial, I think yous’re going to come across 3 dissimilar types of racing over the class of the weekend, so I’ll be very excited to watch the other two.”

Cup cars volition run the superspeedway bundle that was used at Daytona and Talladega, but will the race look like the pack racing common at those tracks?

“I recall some of it is going to come down to practise teams really endeavour to get full Daytona/Talladega and trim their cars manner out and practice all the things we do at Daytona and Talladega?” Allgaier said. “I call back there’south a lot of thought that’southward going to be the right way to practise it.

“Truth be told, when nosotros get there, having the near downforce, the almost grip y’all tin have is going to be super important because the tire doesn’t seem to fall off a lot, so the speeds stayed upward kind of the whole time. You lot’ve got some grip to be able to maneuver effectually if you wanted, if y’all wanted to go to the middle or the top. I don’t foresee there beingness any problems, information technology’southward just whether or non the drivers and teams are comfy with being two- and three-wide.”

AUTO: JAN 06 NASCAR Goodyear Tire Test

AUTO: Jan 06 NASCAR Goodyear Tire Exam

NASCAR hasn’t made a formal declaration, but Steve O’Donnell, chief operating officeholder, suggested that the sanctioning trunk would have the double xanthous-line rule for Atlanta.

That rule is used at Daytona and Talladega. Any driver going beneath the double yellow lines to pass another automobile volition be black flagged. Whatsoever driver that forces another car below the double yellowish lines to avoid beingness passed may exist black flagged.

Since the January tire test, Atlanta Motor Speedway, at the suggestion of drivers, made an alteration to the frontstretch wall.

A Speedway Motorsports spokesperson said rails officials “softened” the entry coming out of Plough four and into the traditional dogleg corner by moving the exterior wall in about five feet at the dogleg corner for 320 feet. A new SAFER bulwark and concrete wall were put in that department.

That won’t reduce the frontstretch width, as rails officials repaved much of what used to be frontstretch grass.

four. Dirt track ready to become at Bristol

Steve Swift, senior vice president operations and development for Speedway Motorsports, says the dirt rail at Bristol Motor Speedway is gear up to race, adding that the task was completed about ii weeks alee of schedule.

The runway will host the Bristol Dirt Nationals March xx – April 2 before the Camping World Truck Series (April 16) and Cup Serial (April 17) compete there, followed past the Earth of Outlaws April 28-30.

The rail is using the same dirt as last year. It was stored on the track’s property.

Citing driver feedback, officials adjusted the banking on the rails. Swift said the banking is progressive, steeper at the top than the bottom.

“In talking with several of the drivers, they felt like that would make much ameliorate racing, make the track much better, make all lanes come up in a lot easier,” Swift said this week.

The banking is 19 degrees at the top, 18 degrees in the middle and 16 degrees at the bottom.

five. 2023 Loving cup schedule update

Ben Kennedy, senior vice president of racing development and strategy for NASCAR, said the goal is to release the 2023 Cup schedule this summer.

The past two years, NASCAR announced the schedule for the upcoming season in September. Before then, NASCAR was revealing the schedule in the leap. The schedule reveal was pushed back on the calendar the past two years as the sport dealt with the COVID pandemic.

The later on the schedule is released, the more than time NASCAR has to potentially add any new venues.

A report last calendar month from Sports Business Journal stated that NASCAR remained in talks with Chicago for a street course race in that location, maybe equally early equally next twelvemonth.

Asked about that, Kennedy said: “Definitely continue to consider all the options from a scheduling standpoint. Chicago has been one of them, and I think that’southward no hugger-mugger from the iRacing event we had concluding year. That said, nil to confirm at this point. Still looking at a scattering of different options on the table.”

NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash

NASCAR Cup Series Busch Lite Clash

Kennedy also said talks go along on the status of the Disharmonism at the Coliseum for next year. NASCAR’due south contract to have the event at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was for this year but as well included options for NASCAR to have the event at that place in 2023 and 2024.

NASCAR’southward contract with the Coliseum states that the sanctioning torso must inform the facility within xc days of the race if it seeks to run the event there side by side year. That would put the deadline at May 6 for NASCAR to inform Coliseum officials.

“We’re still pulling together a ton of data and recaps over the next couple of weeks or so,” Kennedy said. “Hopefully, in the adjacent few months or so, we’ll share more on that.

“I remember overall a great consequence this year. A lot of new fans that were out there, both in person equally well equally tuned in on Television. I call back it was a great fashion to kick off our flavour with the Next Gen car, which definitely didn’t disappoint likewise on the racetrack.”

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