Alex Bowman looking to make most of his opportunity in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s ride

0 Comments

CONCORD, N.C. — Alex Bowman has to wait another day, yet another delay in a career he’s not sure where it is headed.

Sunday’s rescheduled Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (on NBC and NBCSN) could further prove that Bowman is deserving of a ride next season — if there is anything available.

“I don’t know what my future holds,’’ Bowman said after qualifying second in Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car. “There are not really any rides open next year.’’

Bowman knows he’ll drive in six of the remaining seven Sprint Cup races in the No. 88 for Earnhardt, who is out the rest of the season as he recovers from a concussion.

After those six Cup races, Bowman doesn’t know what is next. He doesn’t know if there will be a ride for him in the Cup or Xfinity series, or if the only driving he’ll do will be in the Chevrolet simulator for Hendrick Motorsports, as he does now, helping with setups.

“You never really know what the future holds,’’ the 23-year-old said. “Not having anything set in stone, the one thing that I said I was going to do throughout all these races was to make the most of it and to have the most fun I possibly could. I’m not going to let the pressure kill me. I’m not going to let the people on social media dictate how I feel when I go home at night. I’m just trying to have as much fun as I possibly can.’’

He was an emergency fill-in for Earnhardt at New Hampshire in July, running in the top 10 until he crashed after a tire issue. He was fast at Michigan but a mechanical issue left him with a 30th-place finish. He scored his first career top-10 finish in the Chase opener last month at Chicagoland, placing 10th. He was 14th at New Hampshire.

Today marks his fifth Cup start of the season and 76th of his career.

But he’d also consider a ride elsewhere.

“I would love to run a fourth Xfinity car for JR Motorsports,’’ said Bowman, who has made seven Xfinity starts this season, placing in the top 10 each time.

“Everybody at JRM worked really hard to try to put something together over there and unfortunately the chips didn’t line up in my favor. I don’t really know what’s going on. Obviously, if I win some races or run up front, I think it makes things better. There are not really seats available, but at least I’m the guy that will hopefully get called if something does open up.”

The focus, though, is what he can control and that is how he performs, beginning with today’s Cup race. Starting second gives him the opportunity to show what he’s capable of doing.

“It’s so cool to go to the race track knowing that you have equipment capable of winning if you give the right feedback and make the right calls throughout the race,’’ Bowman said. “It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been the most fun I’ve had in a long time probably since I ran ARCA and won a bunch of races back then. 

“That is the biggest thing. For a race car driver you want to go to the race track with a chance and that is what Hendrick Motorsports has given me.”