Alex Bowman on taking over the No. 88: "I’m definitely ready to go"

Alex Bowman has never been comfortable on the sidelines.

Alex Bowman on taking over the No. 88: "I’m definitely ready to go"
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, GMS Racing Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet

Like most racers, the waiting — as Tom Petty says — is the hardest part. But in less than six months, Bowman will take the reins of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the Monster Energy Cup Series. 

And all of his patience and perseverance will have paid off. 

“I’m definitely ready to go,” Bowman said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “I’d love to be in a car as soon as possible. Definitely want to get back to racing but I’m kind of taking some time to enjoy things and just taking advantage of some of the free time I have that I, hopefully, won’t have for the rest of my career.

“It’s kind of been nice to have some time off and have time to myself. I’ve never been on a vacation, so I have a vacation coming up. I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on so it’s been a lot of fun.”

Bowman's rise up the ranks

Bowman’s life is about to change dramatically as a Hendrick Motorsports driver. While his rise to the Monster Energy Cup Series came after just one full season on the Xfinity Series tour in 2013, the teams Bowman competed for didn’t include the sponsorship demands that accompany the No. 88 Chevy. 

Bowman spent his rookie year with BK Racing and joined Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2015. The opportunity to showcase his talent didn’t occur until he filled in for the ailing Dale Earnhardt Jr., last year. In 10 starts, the Tucson native scored his first-career Cup pole and three top-10 finishes. 

2017 seat time

Bowman, 24, has competed in just one race this season — the Camping World Truck Series event for GMS Racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March. He finished sixth. Most of his time has been spent behind the wheel of the General Motors simulator or piloting a wheel force car for Chevrolet at selected tests. Bowman’s next exercise comes this week in the wheel force car at Dover.

While Bowman has gained valuable seat time testing — and would have enjoyed continuing that trek next year when he takes over Earnhardt’s ride permanently, the commitment for Cup driver at HMS precludes the extra-curricular activities. Bowman is getting a taste of what his new life holds.

“I would love to be able to continue to drive the simulator full-time, continue to do all the wheel force tests — and obviously drive the 88 car,” Bowman said. “I thought I could do it, until I was watching everything they were putting on my calendar. 

“They have this fancy calendar that they put on my phone that I’d never had before. Literally, somebody else puts it in there and I just have to be there now. It has filled up so quickly — and so much more quickly than I thought it was going to that we came to the conclusion pretty quickly that doing all that next year isn’t going to be possible.

“It’s definitely eye-opening, but it’s really cool to have the support of the team and everybody there. It’s such a great feeling, and I just can’t wait to get to Daytona.”

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