In 2021, Alex Bowman enjoyed his best season in NASCAR behind the wheel of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports.
Not surprisingly, the spike in performance has increased his appetite for racing. Rather than continue his dirt racing exploits only in a midget, Bowman upped the ante.
On Thursday, Bowman makes his debut with the World of Outlaws in the No. 55 Ally sprinter. Joe Gaerte will oversee the team’s effort.
“Yeah, why not? I'm not nervous at all,” the affable racer said with a grin. “So I'll be there driving. If there's a C-Main, I'll be in it I guess. I just somehow always wanted to do and you know, go in there with no expectations. Just me—and let it rip.”
In his fourth season with HMS, Bowman scored a career-high four wins and qualified for his fourth straight Playoff berth.
After a disappointing result in Sunday’s Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, where he was literally knocked out of the Last Chance Qualifier, Bowman is hoping for better luck at Volusia Speedway Park this weekend. He ran five races in his sprinter last July. Bowman had hoped to have additional seat time with the All-Star Circuit of Champions earlier this week. Unfortunately, the events were canceled due to rain.
“I just want to make laps, have fun and try to learn more,” Bowman said. “Get outside my comfort zone of driving race cars that I've driven for a long time. So you know, going and driving a winged-sprint car—that I've only raced 4 times—is going to be way outside of my comfort zone and I'm looking forward to it.”
Watching Kyle Larson’s success, it’s not lost on the 28-year-old Tucson native how the additional seat time has improved his teammate’s performance. Larson raised the bar for all of the drivers at Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman plans to rely on Larson, who will pilot the No. 57 sprinter, to get up to speed this weekend.
“I talked to him quite a bit about it and definitely leaning on him,” Bowman said of Larson. “I don't think there's anybody better to lean on for advice than him. I think it's really cool that Mr. H (Hendrick) and Jeff (Gordon) have decided to let us race as much as they have. I sent him a big schedule and they gave me the OK. So, ready to rip.
“I think really just watching Kyle, what Kyle's done and how I feel like it's helped him on Sundays and nobody can really argue that anymore. So I'm just trying to be the best race car driver I can be. I'm not trying to go win Sprint car races or do any of that. I'm trying to go train myself to be a better race car driver on Sundays, and I think there’s no arguing that it helps.”
While Bowman grew up racing midgets on pavement and dirt, Chase Elliott's first foray in a midget occurred last year. William Byron has shown an interest in the discipline as well. But for Bowman, similar to Larson, dirt racing has always been a passion. And he's just getting started.
“I'm gonna try to run 30 or 35 races this year,” Bowman said. “The biggest thing for me is just trying to train outside my comfort zone, you know? Driving a stock car, even though this year's car is different, we're not in the cars very much anymore and I just want to drive more stuff as much as I can.
“So rather than going and driving something that's comfortable to me that I already know how to do, I'd rather learn new things and approach a new challenge.”