Cup Championship Could Be the Only Last Resort for Alex Bowman to Save His Future at Hendrick Motorsports

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DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 15: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, walks the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series 64th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 15, 2022 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
In 2023, the Hendrick Motorsports team were operating at half strength, resulting in two drivers reaching the Playoffs. The biggest casualty was undoubtedly Chase Elliott, as he was one of the favorites. However, Alex Bowman also joined him on the sidelines and both went out due to similar circumstances. To be precise, Elliott picked up an injury away from NASCAR, and the same happened to Bowman. Owing to that, Kyle Larson and William Byron had to carry the team on their backs in 2023.
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Now, in 2024, Bowman will be a man under a lot of pressure because Larson and Elliott are already champions with Hendrick Motorsports, and William Byron is coming into his own. On the other hand, Alex Bowman has endured one miserable campaign after the other and has not won a race since 2022. His best finish in his career was 6th in 2020, driving the #88 car at the time.
Does Alex Bowman need to win a Cup title to safeguard himself?
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Considering Bowman is driving alongside some of the most prominent drivers as a part of the winningest team in NASCAR, it would be fair to think that the #48 driver does not want to be considered the weak link. As a result, he will be seeing the 2024 season as a chance for redemption. There is no better way to do that than to try and win the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series championship. The driver will be highly motivated, and some believe he has the capability.
One surprising supporter is Denny Hamlin, who had clashed with Bowman fairly often in the past. Speaking on his podcast, Actions Detrimental, Hamlin highlighted Bowman’s injury woes in 2023. He said, “I think he was hurt. That’s my personal opinion. I went through a very similar injury. It was probably very likely he was not 100% in his car control feel. I think that he has a bounce-back season. I think he makes the playoffs, probably wins a race.”
The first step towards that title is surely the 2024 Daytona 500, where he has a record of his own. As it happens, Alex Bowman has recorded six front-row starts in the Daytona 500. In fact, with this record, he surpasses the likes of Richard Petty, Buddy Baker, Cale Yarborough, Bill Elliott, and Jeff Gordon.
Can Alex Bowman Extend His Daytona Record to Kick Off His Resurgence Season With a Statement
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How bad was the 2023 season for the #48 driver?
In retrospect, the 2023 campaign was not too terrible. Bowman recorded four Top 5 and ten Top 10 finishes and led 89 laps, but the one black mark was that he failed to win. This would be the first time in his career at Hendrick Motorsports that he failed to reach the Playoffs. This is after he kicked off the campaign on a strong note, finishing in the Top 10 in six of the first seven races.
As a matter of fact, his fifth-place finish at the Daytona 500 was a career-best in that race. But unfortunately, he suffered a major setback with a back injury driving a sprint car in a mid-week race. Owing to that, he was forced to miss three races, and that wasn’t the first time.
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A year earlier, he sat out for five races due to concussion protocol. As a driver, he has been turning in decent statistics and even made a run at the title in 2021. The best part is that he races for Hendrick Motorsports, which is one of the best teams in NASCAR. As a result, he will be considered a title contender, as long as he stays out of trouble.
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