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Alex Bowman Climbs From 33rd Starting Spot for 10th Top-10 Finish of Season

Alex Bowman is tied for the series lead in top-10 finishes after Iowa Speedway, and the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet certainly earned this one as he clawed from the 33rd starting spot to pull it off.


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Alex Bowman has quietly had one of the most consistent seasons of his NASCAR Cup Series career in 2024. After a solid eighth-place finish in the inaugural Iowa Corn 350 at Iowa Speedway, Bowman sits tied for the series-lead in top-10 finishes with 10.

The other three drivers with 10 top-10 finishes this season are William Byron, Tyler Reddick, and Christopher Bell. Those three drivers have combined for six wins through the opening 17 races. If Bowman keeps these types of performances up, he'll be in victory lane soon, as well.

While it ended great, many didn't have high expectations for Bowman heading into Sunday's race at Iowa Speedway due to Bowman starting 33rd-position on the starting grid.

However, Bowman quickly climbed his way from the back of the pack to the front half of the field. The driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 appeared in the top-20 for the first time at Lap 20, and he flirted with the top-15 for a chunk of laps before finally breaking into it on Lap 58.

And then he cracked into the top-10 at Lap 74, where he would remain for nearly the duration of the event.

"Yeah, I think we passed a shit load of cars tonight. That's my first thought," Bowman said after climbing from his race car.

It was an impressive climb, but the rally for Bowman stalled out once he got inside of the top-10. Bowman briefly hit a high position of fifth, but he was never really able to pose much of a threat as a top-five contender down the stretch in Sunday's race.

Bowman was left disappointed as he felt he had a better car than his finishing position indicated.

"Yeah, it was pretty racy. You could race a good bit. They're putting on a hell of a fireworks show for the fans, and I wish we would have been better. I feel like we had a much better car than eighth."

As far as raw speed goes, Bowman definitely had a much better car than eighth, as evidenced by him turning the fastest single lap speed of anyone in the race on Lap 177. But even with the disappointment of an eighth-place finish, with what he felt was a better race car than that, the fact that Bowman overcame the track position obstacle at the beginning of the race to log the ninth-best total of laps inside the top-15 is ultra-impressive.

Bowman credited the Iowa Speedway track surface, which had its critics going into Sunday's race, for being conducive to passing throughout the race, and selfishly, Bowman hopes NASCAR doesn't conduct a full repave of the Iowa Speedway track surface.

"I don't think my opinion matters at all. They're going to do whatever the heck they want, and I don't know that they need to [repave]," Bowman explained. "I feel like the racing was pretty good. The racing was pretty good. It definitely has character which is fun."

While he wanted more, every race car driver always does, Bowman and his No. 48 team were able to kickstart their momentum, which they had seemingly lost after back-to-back so-so finishes at Gateway and Sonoma.

Prior to the two-race skid, where Bowman finished 28th and 15th, the 31-year-old racer had recorded a career-best five consecutive top-10 finishes.

It's been a return to form for the driver/crew chief combination of Bowman and Blake Harris, which combined to score six top-10 finishes in the opening seven races of the 2023 season. Unfortunately, last year was derailed by a back injury sustained by Bowman in an extra curricular dirt event in April.

If momentum is a real actual thing in NASCAR, we'll find out next weekend as the NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, statistically one of Bowman's worst tracks.

In 12 career starts at the 1.058-mile oval, Bowman has just one top-10 finish, a ninth-place effort in 2021. If he can come out of next weekend's 301-lap event with the 11th top-10 finish of his 2024 NASCAR Cup Series campaign, I think Bowman will feel like it is a win. And if he can win, he'll probably be over the moon.

Photo Credit: Chris Owens / HHP for Chevy Racing

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