Bowman finds confidence behind wheel of the No. 88
RELATED: Bowman grateful for opportunity LOUDON, N.H. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. summed it up best on Twitter following the New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday. Don't be fooled by Alex Bowman 's 26th-place finish at the "Magic Mile" -- the young driver made an impression on the race track while filling the seat of NASCAR's most popular driver before a little bad luck hit. The result will not show what a great job @AlexBRacing and the @nationwide88 gang did this weekend. Proud of them guys. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) July 17, 2016 After qualifying 20th, Bowman -- subbing for Earnhardt this weekend as the veteran battles concussion-like symptoms -- sliced and diced his way through the field at a track notorious for difficult passing, settling as high as eighth with 30 to go before contact on pit road and more during a jumbled restart left the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with a tire rub. When the rubber finally gave way, Bowman's entry made contact with the outside retaining wall in Turn 1, bringing out the race's fifth caution period on the 272nd of 301 laps. Prior to that, the 23-year-old appeared poised for his first career top-10 finish in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition in his first start of the season. His previous best in two Sprint Cup seasons was a 13th-place result at Daytona in July 2014. "I think the No. 19 (of Carl Edwards ) was backing up because he was blocked in as I was leaving the pit box," Bowman said on pit road following the race. "My left-rear hit his right-rear as I was leaving. It caved it in enough, we thought we would be fine, but obviously, when I got into the No. 41 (of Kurt Busch) it was already going down. I got really loose, got up the race track and got into him. It is really unfortunate. I think the worst we would've finished would've been seventh or eighth. "They knew we were here for sure, and I had a blast." Though he mentioned he "hate(s) the circumstances," of how it came together, the opportunity to drive one of NASCAR's premier cars came at a critical point in Bowman's career. Having lost his full-time Sprint Cup ride a month before the season started, Bowman has been grinding to make a name for himself in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Earnhardt's JR Motorsports team on a part-time basis, itching to get another shot in the premier series. Sunday's performance should go a long way toward continuing in that direction. "I've raced with a lot of these guys for a long time; I raced around them but I've never got to actually race with guys like Jimmie Johnson , Tony Stewart , Kurt Busch, all those guys," Bowman said. " … I've never had a day where I could just race with them. And today I was finally able to do that." Not having Earnhardt in the car for the first time in second-year crew chief Greg Ives' Sprint Cup career certainly offered a unique challenge for the No. 88 crew, but Bowman met the team's expectations and before his tire went down was in position to pull out a top-10 finish -- something the struggling squad hasn't had since finishing runner-up at Pocono more than a month ago. "I thought he did well," Ives said of his interim driver. "I thought this weekend was a good learning weekend for the whole team. Obviously for him, but having a different driver makes you communicate differently and I think something that we can pick up and improve on for when Dale comes back for us to communicate better. Alex has run Cup cars before and around the competition but for him to … he felt to be able to run with those guys and learn from them really helped him out today. "Definitely (we'd be comfortable with him in the car again), if needed. … Circumstances will play out how they play out. For sure, it's definitely an option in the future." While Bowman won't be back in Junior's car next week at Indianapolis -- that nod goes to recently-retired four-time champion Jeff Gordon , should Earnhardt need more time to recover -- it was clear that Sunday marked a milestone for the up-and-comer, who won't be forgetting his magical weekend at Loudon any time soon. "I don't think I've gotten out of a Cup car with a smile on my face in a while," he said. "It's just so much fun to be able to run up front like that. I've spent two years of my career wondering if I can really do this at the Cup level and today I answered that for myself."
Bowman on replacing Junior: Chance of a lifetime
LOUDON, N.H. -- Alex Bowman recently got perhaps the most important phone call of his career. And he sent it to voicemail. It was No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet crew chief Greg Ives on the horn, calling to see if the 23-year-old could fill in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. -- battling concussion symptoms -- this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "Yeah, it's been a crazy 12 hours for sure," Bowman said Friday at the track. "I think the first time Greg called me I was at work, so I didn't even answer. But it's definitely not the circumstances that I want to get an opportunity like this. "... Obviously I'm hoping Dale feels better, but at the same time it's the best opportunity I've ever had in my life. I'm ready to just plug into their program and do my job. I'll give them the best feedback I can and go from there. I'm really confident in the whole team. Obviously they bring great race cars to the track every weekend, so if I just do my job I feel like we would be good to plug into it." Bowman will take over the reins of the No. 88 in Sunday's New Hampshire 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) for a one-race shot in the Sprint Cup Series, his first start of the year after back-to-back full slates in 2014 and 2015. Should Earnhardt need another week to recover, HMS officials noted that recently retired four-time champion Jeff Gordon would be behind the wheel at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. RELATED: Gordon in at Indy if Junior can't drive The young, talented Bowman is a part of Earnhardt's JR Motorsports stable, taking on a nine-race stint in the XFINITY Series in the No. 88 Camaro. His rapport with the organization -- his four straight top-10 finishes so far this year probably didn't hurt either -- made the decision a near lock. "Dale and Greg and I felt like Alex ( Bowman ) was the right person," said Doug Duchardt, Hendrick Motorsports General Manager. "He's run the XFINITY car. He's done a good job in that car. He is part of the JR Motorsports system and part of our system. And so, Greg reached out to Alex. Alex came in Tuesday night to get fitted for the car." For Bowman , the once highly touted prospect whose career took a detour after losing his Sprint Cup ride in January -- and finding out about it on Twitter, no less -- it's another positive opportunity that comes via Earnhardt, albeit in an unfortunate way this time around. After the Arizona native learned he was jobless in late January, Earnhardt stepped in to work with Bowman to come up with a partial XFINITY Series schedule for the driver after he ran two races for the organization in 2014. While those two races didn't result in spectacular finishes (12th at Charlotte, 17th at Phoenix in the No. 5), it paid off for JRM in 2016, as Bowman now sports a sterling 6.25 average finish through four races. "I think I can really thank Dale, Jr. for saving my career two years ago pretty much, with those two XFINITY races at Charlotte and Phoenix, and then for the opportunity to run nine races this year with him," said Bowman , who placed 13th in the first practice session Friday with a best speed of 132.172 mph. "Obviously, we have been knocking on the door to get some wins and it has been a lot of fun. "He has been a good friend to me. He has been somebody that I can lean on all the time. Obviously, I hate to see him not feeling well. That was my first thought, but he has done a lot for my career and I couldn't be any more thankful than I am. I owe him a lot. It's just been an honor to get the phone call to fill in for him." &lt;/p&gt;
Dale's call: Bowman misses FaceTime with boss
LOUDON, N.H. -- We found out earlier this weekend that Alex Bowman is prone to missing important phone calls, but you'd think when the boss man tries to FaceTime, he'd answer. Not quite. RELATED: Bowman gets call to jump in No. 88 -- sends it to voicemail After placing eighth in Saturday's AutoLotto 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bowman -- tapped to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Sunday's New Hampshire 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event -- mentioned in his post-race press conference that Junior "loves to FaceTime." But he's never answered the, for lack of a better term, Dale Call. "I don't think I've ever actually answered any type of video chat from him," Bowman said. "Definitely missed a few from him." Race weekends are busy, sure, but you'd think the 23-year-old would jump at the opportunity to take a video chat from the man for whom he's subbing, knowing Earnhardt is hanging around his house, bored and probably Netflixed-out as he recovers from concussion-like symptoms. "Dale's probably sitting at home, super bored, watching the TV," said Bowman , who will line up 20th in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. "He's probably criticizing what I did today, saying 'Why didn't you do a better job?.' I don't know; he's probably just really bored at home trying to talk to everybody last night. "I just know that everybody's phone kept ringing (Friday) night. I was in the shower, (spotter) TJ Majors told me that he was in the shower and his phone rang three times. So, Dale was just wanting to talk." </p>
Dillon on Bowman : 'He wrecked me on purpose'
RELATED: Best at-track photos Saturday at New Hampshire LOUDON, N.H. -- Alex Bowman gained a lot of new fans this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway -- but he may have earned an on-track enemy, as well. Bowman , the 23-year-old tapped to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. (concussion-like symptoms) in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series New Hampshire 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), got into an on-track incident with full-time XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon shortly before the midway point in Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series Auto Lotto 200 race. The No. 88 JR Motorsports driver appeared to clip the right rear of Dillon's No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet on the straightaway, sending the title hopeful into the outside wall and out of race contention. Bowman indicated over his team radio that it was not intentional and that his Camaro was battling tight handling, but Dillon wasn't buying it. "Just watching the replay, he wrecked me on purpose," Dillon said in the garage as his No. 3 crew worked to repair his ride. " ... You can ask everybody that was around the 88 today. I'm sure after the race they'll say that he was the toughest one to pass for whatever reason. " ... He felt like he needed to turn me down the straightaway. Obviously I'm not very happy. I'll just try and be the cooler head right now because I'm glad he's still out there on the track and not here (in the garage) with me." Bowman maintained after the race that while he "wasn't really thrilled with how (Dillon) drove (him) prior to the wreck" that "it wasn't, by any means, intentional," but he'll probably wait a bit to offer a face-to-face apology to Dillon. "I'll talk to him, probably let him cool down a little bit," said Bowman , set for his first Sprint Cup Series start of the season on Sunday. "Kid tried to wreck me like four times but he couldn't get it done after that. Probably let him calm down without it turning into just him yelling at me. That's probably what he's going to do. That's probably what I'd do, too. I'd be upset, too. He has every right to be upset. " ... He'll get over it someday." Dillon was able to get back out on the track after the midway mark, but came out more than 50 laps off the pace. He finished 33rd. The championship hopeful came into the race 19 points behind leader Daniel Suarez, in third place. That gap widened to 48 points, just six ahead of second-place finisher Erik Jones . "Pretty upset right now. It's not how you race," Dillon said. "You don't turn me when we're going down the straightaway. I don't know what to say, because I don't have anything good to say, except for I'm glad he's not around right now. "Seemed like (his car) turned pretty good down the straightaway when I was passed him, so maybe he needs to figure out what loose and tight mean. Maybe I can explain it to him."
NASCAR reveals nominees for 2017 Hall of Fame class
RELATED: Five more names on list of 2017 Hall of Fame nominees " MORE: See the 2017 Hall of Fame nominees DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 24, 2016) -- Legendary engine builders, crew chiefs, owners, drivers and the most recognizable voice in motorsports. The talents, eras and levels may differ, but all share a common thread. They shaped NASCAR, and on Wednesday, they were recognized as nominees for the highest honor the sport bestows -- enshrinement into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR today announced the 20 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2017, as well as the five nominees for the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Included among the list are five first-time nominees, all legends who made excellence a habit through their various contributions to the sport. Among them are record-holding four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr .; the man with the most car owner wins in NASCAR national series history with 322, Jack Roush; former all-time consecutive starts leader Ricky Rudd; legendary motorsports broadcasting pioneer Ken Squier; and three-time premier series champion engine builder and three-time Daytona 500 -winning crew chief Waddell Wilson. For a full list of nominees, please see below. The nominees were selected by a nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks, and the media. The committee's votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young. From the list of 20 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on NASCAR.com. Voting Day for the 2017 class will be Wednesday, May 25. Added to this year's list of Landmark Award nominees is Janet Guthrie -- the first female driver to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race. The four returning nominees for the Landmark Award are H. Clay Earles, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Squier (more on each below). Potential Landmark Award recipients include competitors or those working in the sport as a member of a racing organization, track facility, race team, sponsor, media partner or being a general ambassador for the sport through a professional or non-professional role. Award winners remain eligible for NHOF enshrinement. Following are the 20 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, listed alphabetically: Buddy Baker , won 19 times in NASCAR's premier (now Sprint Cup ) series, including the Daytona 500 and Southern 500. Red Byron , first NASCAR premier series champion, in 1949. Richard Childress , 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series. Ray Evernham , three-time NASCAR premier series championship crew chief. Ray Fox , legendary engine builder, crew chief and car owner. Rick Hendrick , 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series. Ron Hornaday , four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. Harry Hyde , 1970 NASCAR premier series championship crew chief. Alan Kulwicki , 1992 NASCAR premier series champion. Mark Martin , 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition. Hershel McGriff , 1986 NASCAR west series champion. Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner. Benny Parsons , 1973 NASCAR premier series champion. Larry Phillips , only five-time NASCAR weekly series national champion. Jack Roush , five-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series. Ricky Rudd , won 23 times in NASCAR's premier series, including the 1997 Brickyard 400. Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Mike Stefanik , winner of record-tying nine NASCAR championships. Waddell Wilson , won three NASCAR premier series championships as an engine builder. Robert Yates , won NASCAR premier series championship as both an engine builder and owner. The five nominees for the Landmark Award, listed alphabetically, are: H. Clay Earles , founder of Martinsville Speedway . Janet Guthrie , the first female to compete in a NASCAR premier series superspeedway race. Raymond Parks , NASCAR's first champion car owner. Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Ken Squier , legendary radio and television broadcaster; inaugural winner/namesake of Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. NASCAR Hall of Fame Nomination Eligibility -- Drivers who have competed in NASCAR for at least 10 years and been retired for two years are eligible for nomination to the NHOF. Previously, eligible drivers must have been retired for three years. -- In addition, drivers who have competed for a minimum of 10 years and reached their 55th birthday on or before Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year are immediately eligible for the NHOF. -- Any driver who has competed for 30 or more years in NASCAR competition by Dec. 31 of the year prior to the nominating year is automatically eligible, regardless of age. -- Drivers may continue to compete after reaching any of the aforementioned milestones without compromising eligibility for nomination or induction. -- For non-drivers, individuals must have worked at least 10 years in the NASCAR industry. -- Individuals may also be considered who made significant achievements in the sport, but left the sport early due to a variety of circumstances. The 22-person Nominating Committee: NOMINATION COMMITTEE NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim. NASCAR Officials: Chairman / CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice Chairman of NASCAR Mike Helton; Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar; Executive Vice President / Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell; Executive Vice President / Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Senior Vice President, Competition Scott Miller; Senior Vice President, Marketing & Driver Services Jill Gregory. Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of directors member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Holland Motorsports Complex operator Ron Bennett; Rockford Speedway operator Jody Deery; West Coast representative Ken Clapp. Media: Mike Joy, FOX.
Bowman : 'It's my fault'
Alex Bowman talks about making contact with Ty Dillon, causing Dillon to him to receive severe damage after hitting the wall during the AutoLotto 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bowman and Elliott simultaneously see trouble
Cut tires send teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman into the wall during the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bowman excited and grateful for opportunity
Alex Bowman talks about having a great time filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and the contact in the pits that led to his flat tire.
Bowman : I'm not here to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Alex Bowman has been tapped as the replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after Earnhardt was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms.
Contact with Bowman sends Ty Dillon spinning
While battling for position, Ty Dillon and Alex Bowman make contact, causing Dillon to spin and make contact with the wall.