Sport Daytona 500: Alex Bowman making name for himself as he succeeds Dale Jr.

18:50  12 february  2018
18:50  12 february  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Daytona 500: Alex Bowman snags pole position over Denny Hamlin

  Daytona 500: Alex Bowman snags pole position over Denny Hamlin There will be no avoiding “The Showman” nickname for Alex Bowman now. Bowman captured the pole for next Sunday’s Daytona 500 after knocking off Denny Hamlin from the top spot in the final round of Sunday’s knockout qualifying at Daytona International Speedway.Bowman, in his first full season replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 88 Chevrolet, earned the second pole of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.Bowman and Hamlin have locked in the front row for next weekend’s Daytona 500.

Alex Bowman , who replaced the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr . this off-season, captured the pole in Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday. Alex Bowman may not have an affinity for restrictor-plate racing like his predecessor, but the 24-year-old, who succeeded Dale Earnhardt Jr . as driver of the No. 88

(AP) — Alex Bowman put an old familiar car on top of the Daytona 500 leaderboard. Bowman won the pole for “The Great American Race” in his debut as the official driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted until last season by NASCAR rock star Dale Earnhardt Jr .

a man holding a sign posing for the camera: Alex Bowman© (Getty Images) Alex Bowman

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Rick Hendrick conceded with a smile that when he first began interacting with driver Alex Bowman two years ago he sometimes mistakenly referred to the young racer as Alex Baldwin.

Getting Bowman’s name right certainly isn’t an issue now as it goes down in the history books as pole winner for next weekend’s 60th annual Daytona 500.

While the two joked about it Sunday afternoon shortly after Bowman’s headline-earning run in the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet, the 24-year old driver acknowledged it has been a long and hard-knocks road to finding a job with the Hall of Fame owner Hendrick…and to a bona fide shot to win on NASCAR’s biggest stages.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr . might be gone, but his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet looks like it’s in good hands with new driver Alex Bowman — and could very well be a threat to win the first post- Junior Daytona 500 .

Kyle Busch, who has 183 career wins across NASCAR's top-three national series, is still trying for his first Daytona 500 victory. USA TODAY Sports.

“If you talked to me in 2015 and told me that in 2018 I was going to be driving the 88 car for Hendrick Motorsports, I would have called you nuts,’’ said Bowman, who replaced the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Hendrick’s car.

DAYTONA 500: Date, start time for Great American Race

“You know, everything happens for a reason. My career had a lot of ups and downs, and I've been able to lean on my past experiences a lot to make me better and to better prepare myself for this job.

“Honestly, I think I'm better because of the things that I had to go through. I got to make a lot of mistakes without anybody watching. Just never give up.”

It is just one of the lessons in watching Bowman begin his ascension in NASCAR’s highest ranks. He comes to the opportunity humbly, for sure.

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Alex Bowman put an old familiar car on top of the Daytona 500 leaderboard. Bowman won the pole for "The Great American Race" in his debut as the official driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted until last season by NASCAR rock star Dale Earnhardt Jr .

(AP) — Alex Bowman put a familiar car atop the Daytona 500 leaderboard. Bowman won the pole for "The Great American Race" in his debut as the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted until last season by NASCAR rock star Dale Earnhardt Jr .

After one full season (2013) competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Bowman made his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut as a 21-year old driving for BK Racing in 2014 and then Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2015. A 13th place finish in the 2014 Daytona summer race was his best result in those seasons and the only top-20 finish. He led just three total laps in those first 71 Cup starts (one at Fontana, Calif. in 2015 and two at Kentucky later that season).

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When Rick Hendrick hired Bowman to fill in for the injured Earnhardt in 2016, it was a chance of a lifetime. He drove 10 races while Earnhardt recovered from a concussion, earning three top-10 finishes — highlighted by a pole position and a career best sixth-place finish at his hometown Phoenix track.

He didn’t make a single Cup start last season, instead spending time in the Hendrick team’s simulator offering feedback to help the team and being “ready” for any call of duty. Earnhardt announced in April he would be stepping away from full-time Cup competition. And then in July, the team formally announced that Bowman would steer the No. 88.

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  Watch: Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrates awesome 'Legend of Daytona' video The former driver's narration of the action-packed, dramatic video is sure to get NASCAR fans' blood racing ahead of Sunday's Daytona 500.Earnhardt Jr., a two-time winner of the event, narrates the 3-minute, 32-second "The Legend of Daytona" video, which is loaded with highlights of 60 years of Daytona 500s.

(AP) - Alex Bowman put an old familiar car on top of the Daytona 500 leaderboard. Bowman won the pole for "The Great American Race" in his debut as the official driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted until last season by NASCAR rock star Dale Earnhardt Jr .

- Alex Bowman put an old familiar car on top of the Daytona 500 leaderboard. Bowman won the pole for "The Great American Race" in his debut as the official driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, piloted until last season by NASCAR rock star Dale Earnhardt Jr .

In the excitement of that announcement, Bowman appropriately enough scored his first-ever NASCAR national series victory in an Xfinity Series race three months later at Charlotte — one of two Xfinity starts he made on the year.

“He’s got a tremendous amount of talent and these guys learn so fast with simulation,’’ Hendrick said. “I'm blown away with what a quick study these young ones are and all the things they do’'

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Denny Hamlin, who will start alongside Bowman on the front row next Sunday, conceded that he really hadn’t spoken to the young driver much at all before congratulating him on the pole award as they posed together for photos.

However, the 2016 Daytona 500 winner was quick to offer praise and optimism about Bowman’s future.

“He's earned his position in that car,’’ Hamlin said. “He subbed phenomenally for Dale Jr., and I thought he really earned that right. So he's the guy ‑‑ he got here the old‑fashioned way; just like I did many, many years ago, just on hard work and grit. I think that he'll handle it.

Watch: Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrates awesome 'Legend of Daytona' video

  Watch: Dale Earnhardt Jr. narrates awesome 'Legend of Daytona' video The former driver's narration of the action-packed, dramatic video is sure to get NASCAR fans' blood racing ahead of Sunday's Daytona 500.Earnhardt Jr., a two-time winner of the event, narrates the 3-minute, 32-second "The Legend of Daytona" video, which is loaded with highlights of 60 years of Daytona 500s.

Bowman Puts Dale Earnhardt Jr .’s Former Team in Familiar Territory at the ‘World Center of Racing’ Danica Patrick 28th in Qualifying for Final DAYTONA 500 Start Prior to the Clash, Alex Bowman won the pole for the 60th annual DAYTONA 500 set for

Alex Bowman and Denny Hamlin will lead the field to green in the 60th annual Daytona 500 . He will have to start at the rear of his Duel, as will BK Racing’s Gray Gaulding, who failed to pass technical inspection in time to make his turn in time trials.

“He's not a full‑blown rookie. He is a young guy, but he's been in the Cup Series quite a few years. I think he'll be the surprising young guy of this year, being that he does have the experience. He's just now in a car that will be contending for race wins week in and week out.”

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Bowman will be one-third of a trio of young, up-and-coming talents teamed with seven-time Monster Energy Series champion Jimmie Johnson at Hendrick Motorsports this season and all four drivers (also Chase Elliott, rookie William Byron and Johnson) advanced to the final 12-driver round of front-row qualifying.

“In all of my years in this sport and my company, we have never worked this close together, and it's something I've been wanting to see,’’ Hendrick said. “So the proof is going to be when we get down to the Playoffs.

“There's some awful good teams in that garage area. There's some awful good cars that are not going to be in the Playoffs. But I think we're just going to get better and stronger.”

Holly Cain writes for the NASCAR Wire Service.

2018 Daytona 500 pole qualifying

Car number in parentheses:

1. (88) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 195.644 mph.

2. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 195.092 mph.

3. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 194.734 mph.

4. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 194.704 mph.

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International Speedway, Alex Bowman claimed his second-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series pole to start the season-opening Daytona 500 from It also marks the third-straight restrictor-plate pole for the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, picking up were Dale Earnhardt Jr . left off with

Dale Earnhardt Jr . named 2017 NMPA Most Popular Driver. Kyle Busch jokingly praises Dale Jr . for helping him convert Alex Bowman reacts to winning the pole for the 60th annual Daytona 500 in his first full-time season driving the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

5. (24) William Byron #, Chevrolet, 194.548 mph.

6. (20) Erik Jones, Toyota, 194.473 mph.

7. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, 194.468 mph.

8. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford, 194.464 mph.

9. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 194.045 mph.

10. (9) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 193.911 mph.

11. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 193.811 mph.

12. (21) Paul Menard, Ford, 193.199 mph.

13. (10) Aric Almirola, Ford, 193.386 mph.

14. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 193.357 mph.

15. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 193.228 mph.

16. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford, 192.893 mph.

17. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford, 192.810 mph.

18. (95) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 192.744 mph.

19. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 192.728 mph.

20. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 192.386 mph.

21. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 192.242 mph.

22. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 192.238 mph.

23. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 192.160 mph.

24. (34) Michael McDowell, Ford, 191.902 mph.

25. (43) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Chevrolet, 191.742 mph.

26. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 191.481 mph.

27. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 191.188 mph.

28. (7) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 191.160 mph.

29. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 191.103 mph.

30. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 190.904 mph.

31. (62) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 189.881 mph.

32. (51) Justin Marks(i), Chevrolet, 189.617 mph.

33. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 188.778 mph.

34. (96) DJ Kennington, Toyota, 188.096 mph.

35. (00) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 188.025 mph.

36. (92) David Gilliland(i), Ford, 187.954 mph.

37. (66) Mark Thompson, Ford, 186.463 mph.

38. (72) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, 186.058 mph.

39. (23) Gray Gaulding, Toyota, 0.000 mph.

40. (38) David Ragan, Ford, 0.000 mph.

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Daytona Day was nothing short of a rousing success for NASCAR, which was able to celebrate both its storied past and youthful future on its biggest stage. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Daytona Day was nothing short of a rousing success for NASCAR, which was able to celebrate both its storied past and youthful future on its biggest stage.

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