Despite season-best result, Bowman still feeling frustrated

Alex Bowman scores his first top-10 finish of the season at Martinsville Speedway.

Despite season-best result, Bowman still feeling frustrated
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide
Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Nationwide

Alex Bowman finished seventh at Martinsville Speedway to score his first top-10 of the season for Hendrick Motorsports.

After back-to-back 13th place finishes at ISM Raceway and Auto Club Speedway, Alex Bowman finally cracked the top-10 in the STP 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

Bowman, who stepped into the No. 88 Chevrolet full-time this season for the retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., was the highest finishing driver for Hendrick Motorsports in the first short track race of the season.

While he was pleased with his first top-10 of the year, he clearly expected it to come sooner than the fifth race of the season.

“I mean Daytona, and then if not Daytona then Atlanta, and then if not Atlanta, Phoenix, I mean we are here to win races every week,” Bowman said. “To take this long to get a Top 10 it’s not what we wanted at all, but glad we are going the right way.”

Expecting more

Although it was his best finish so far this year, Bowman was not overly excited after the race.

“Yeah, I mean … 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 off-season 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 struggles by all four drivers at Hendrick Motorsports have been well documented this season and while Bowman was aware of the chatter about the organization’s performance, he felt it hasn’t affected the guys in the shop.

“Nobody has really made a big deal of anything,” he added. “Obviously, you read media stuff and everybody is all fired up, but we know we are off, but 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.”

Chase Elliott finished ninth to join Bowman in the top-10 to give Hendrick Motorsports two drivers in the top-10 for the first time this season. Bowman thinks some ideas he had over the weekend made a difference in the race. 

“I don’t know if it was one thing. I felt like I had some good observations after second practice on somethings I wanted to change and they seemed to pay off big during the race,” Bowman said. “Or at least be the right direction during the race.  

“Greg (Ives, crew chief) just made really good adjustments. Every stop we got better, we had solid pit stops all day, the pit crew worked really hard, just good decisions on top of the box and a good race car.”

The race was relatively clean by Martinsville standards with just four cautions and all but one coming at the end of stages or a competition caution. Despite that, Bowman was tired at the end of the race. 

“I had my hands full,” said Bowman. “It wasn’t mellow for me. I’m a little worn out.That was a physical one for me at least. I changed some stuff inside the race car that made me able to go faster, but probably wore me out a little quicker. I’m glad that I didn’t fall out of the seat there because it was pretty physical, but it was fun.”

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