Riddles + drag racing the owner = fun for Daytona 500 pole-winning team


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In what could be a made-for-social media special, car owner Rick Hendrick says he and Daytona 500 pole winner Alex Bowman will drag race corvettes at some point with the winner getting the other’s car.

“One of us is going to lose a Corvette,’’ Hendrick said Sunday after Bowman won the pole in the No. 88 car.

“I don’t know that I signed up for that,’’ Bowman said.

“Yes you did,’’ crew chief Greg Ives told his driver.

“I thought it was just a grudge match,’’ Bowman said.

“No, for pinks he said,’’ Ives said.

“I didn’t throw the pinks thing out there,’’ Bowman said to Hendrick. “I’m still going to drag you down the race track.’’

Consider this race Hendrick’s way of having fun with his new driver, who takes over the ride Dale Earnhardt Jr. had.

“Alex and I have a lot of fun,’’ Hendrick said.

MORE: Wait is over for Alex Bowman to take over No. 88 car 

It’s easy to have fun with his driver is fast. Bowman’s pole gave Hendrick Motorsports its fourth consecutive Daytona 500 pole, following Jeff Gordon in 2015 and Chase Elliott in 2016-17.

Bowman’s pole only adds to his nickname “Bowman the Showman’’ — a name that he hasn’t been a fan of because of his low-key style but is grudgingly accepting.

However, he has a nickname for Ives. Bowman calls his crew chief “The Riddler’’ for the riddles or code Ives speaks in on the radio.

Ives is fine with it handle if he can keep other teams guessing what his strategy is during a race.

“A lot of it is just my nature of trying to be secretive and not let everybody see my hand a little bit,’’ Ives said. “Sometimes it helps us. I know it frustrated Dale a lot, and Alex, he gets to listen to that a lot now. 

“But I’m going to make him a riddle card for him to put on the dash so he kind of understands some of the riddles I’m going to go through. But a lot of it is just trying not to show your hand and get your driver to maybe understand what you’re saying.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but he should have got that riddle right after qualifying and know that I probably wouldn’t have come on the radio if he didn’t have the pole.’’

Bowman has another idea for his crew chief.

“We’re going to make him get a Riddler costume, too,’’ Bowman said. “He just doesn’t know it yet.’’

“No,” Ives said, “that’s not going to happen.’’

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