In his first full season driving for Hendrick Motorsports in place of the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., Alex Bowman had a career year. There were his first top-five finishes; sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500; double-digit top-10 finishes; ending the year inside the top 20 in the points standings; and qualifying for the playoffs.
But while acknowledging all that was a “neat” feat, Bowman isn’t hanging his hat on it.
“I feel like I have a lot of people telling me I need to be super positive on last season and super positive about how everything went and be happy about it and everything, but the end of the day, I’m a racer, and I want to go win,” Bowman says on this week’s NASCAR podcast. “Making the playoffs is great and all, but we didn’t make it to the end and we didn’t win. To go winless on the season was a big bummer to me. We wanted a lot more.
“The progress that we made on our race cars throughout the course of the season was probably the biggest positive for me, and just to see how the team worked together to get our stuff better over the course of the year — because we started way off, as everybody saw. While I’m probably not being as positive as I should be and obviously, a lot of people worked really hard, and we have a lot to be proud of, I want a lot more.”
Earnhardt Jr. also is on the podcast, complimenting Bowman’s season and his growth in the No. 88 seat. Earnhardt feels Bowman showed potential throughout 2018 and particularly as the Chevrolet camp picked up speed late in the year. Making the playoffs in his first year is something Earnhardt said Bowman should be “extremely proud of.”
“I think this team and this company and the car itself, the manufacturer itself, is going to have great things next year and I see him being a part of that,” said Earnhardt.
Bowman is eager for next season to get started, and while he’s keeping himself busy in the meantime with midget racing and building cars, he is also working on how he can improve on Sundays.
“I’m trying to change some things up on my end and do a little bit better job on some things,” Bowman admitted. “Started working with (former driver turned athletic trainer) Josh Wise on some fitness stuff and some vision stuff as well, and some hand-eye coordination stuff. Just doing anything I can to feel a little better in the race car to maximize anything I can.
“I think there’s areas that I can improve — we can obviously improve our race cars … Daytona will be here before we know it.”
You can hear the full interview with Bowman and Earnhardt below: