Alex Bowman didn’t want to go six races into the season before earning his first top-10 finish. But after a seventh-place run at Martinsville Speedway, he’s glad his Hendrick Motorsports team is heading in the right direction.
“It’s frustrating to say we are looking for a seventh, but much better than we have been the last couple of weeks and just happy for all my guys,” said Bowman. “They have worked really hard all offseason and all year. We haven’t had the results we wanted, so to come here and finish stronger is definitely a step in the right direction.
“We’ve got a long way to go, but we are headed the right way.”
The No. 88 didn’t make an appearance in the top 10 until, as the saying goes, the pay window opened. Bowman spent much of his day shuffling up and down the leaderboard between 10th and 20th. It was with less than 100 laps to go when Bowman cracked the top 10 and settled in.
“I think most everything we did was air pressure just because big changes take so long on pit stops now. So, just small changes,” he said of the day’s progression. “Got some different stuff in the car air-pressure wise so I could play with the track bar a little bit, and it seemed to work out.
“I definitely felt like the end of the run we fell off a little more than we wanted to. We were trying to go get the 22 [Joey Logano] and just kind of fell off too much at the end. Definitely solid changes all day.”
Before Martinsville, Bowman’s season-best finish was 13th, twice at Fontana and Phoenix.
Much has been made of the season’s slow start by the four Hendrick Motorsports cars, with all of them acknowledging the growing pains within the organization. All are confident success will come, and Bowman says no one in the shop has made a big deal or panicked.
“Obviously, you read media stuff and everybody is all fired up but we know we are off,” he said. “Everybody is just real motivated and working harder. It’s a lot of guys that have won a lot of races, and they want to get back to that winning feeling.
“So, they are all working really hard and got the best in the business back at the shop working to get better.”
Bowman is 14th in points going into the off weekend.