Bowman seeks to break through at Daytona

Bowman has Daytona win in crosshairs

Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman

If you’re looking for a dark horse in the 2021 Daytona 500, look no further than Alex Bowman.

Indeed, as the 40-car field revs up for the Great American Race Sunday, Feb. 14, on Fox, the 27-year-old native of Tucson, Ariz., will be looking to achieve a career laurel he has been slowly building toward for the last few years.

He’s finished in the NASCAR Cup postseason each of the last three years and has improved with each year, finishing 16th in 2018, 12th in 2019 and sixth last season. He’s also run well in qualifying for the Cup season opener, taking the pole in 2018 and starting on the outside of the front row the past two years. And then, of course, his team, Hendrick Motorsports, has a history of producing Daytona 500 winners such as Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

If there’s a chink in Bowman’s armor, it’s his record in the race itself. He’s run it four times, with respectable finishes in 2018 (17th) and 2019 (11th) and his worst coming last year at 24th.

But that lackluster showing could be blamed on the much-feared “Big One,” a pile-up that occurred on lap 181 of the 200-lap race and collected nearly half the field, including Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Bowman. It was also in this race that Ryan Newman was critically injured in a last-lap crash.

So Bowman will be looking for a redemption of sorts in this year’s race, as he readies to do battle in a field including the above drivers plus Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, defending Cup champ Chase Elliott and two-time defending race winner Denny Hamlin on the 2.5-mile tri-oval of Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

Player Profile

Full name: Alexander Michael Bowman

Birth date: April 25, 1993

Birthplace: Tucson, Ariz.

Height: 6 feet, 1 inch

Car: No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE

Team: Hendrick Motorsports

NASCAR Cup wins: 2

Top 10s: 41

Poles: 2

Honors and achievements: 2011 K&N Pro Series East Rookie of the Year; 2012 ARCA Racing Series Rookie of the Year; pole winner at the 2018 Daytona 500

Did you know: Replaced Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48 car when the seven-time Cup champ retired following the 2020 season

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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