FONTANA, Calif — Alex Bowman is a free agent following the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. A lot of people wondered what his status would be for 2021. Would he be back for a fourth season at Hendrick Motorsports?
Heading into the 2020 season, Bowman had one career win in his last 66 starts with HMS. That came last June at the Chicagoland Speedway. Results haven’t exactly been to where the Arizona native would have thought they’d be.
Plus, his No. 88 Chevrolet is the least funded among the four cars in the HMS camp. Ally is on the No. 48 Chevrolet for the next three years. While that seat is open for 2021, the car is funded.
NAPA extended their sponsorship package on Chase Elliott’s No. 9 Chevrolet. Axalta and other sponsors have extended for several years too on William Byron’s No. 24 Chevrolet. Nationwide, the long time sponsor on Bowman’s car, left following the 2019 season. They were a sponsor of more than 25+ races from a year ago.
That void still isn’t filled.
But, as we sit just three races into the 2020 season, Bowman is the only one of the four HMS drivers to have visited victory lane this year. Bowman, led 110 of 200 laps in Sunday’s domination en route to his second career victory.
In fact, if not for a late race caution last Sunday in Las Vegas, Bowman would likely have won his second race of the season already. At the very worst, he’d have two top two finishes in three tries this year. That’s how elite that they’ve been.
Despite that, Bowman isn’t comfortable for 2021 yet.
“Every year is a contract year,” said Bowman after a win in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 “Every year of my life in the Cup Series has been a contract year. I’ve had contracts and two weeks before Daytona read a tweet that said I’m not going to Daytona. There’s never a situation that I feel completely comfortable in.”
Bowman, is referring to thinking he had a contract in place with Tommy Baldwin Racing for 2016. Unfortunately for him, he found out in January of that year, on twitter of all places, that he wouldn’t be racing for them.
“I feel like if somebody doesn’t want you driving their race car, you’re not going to be there driving it,” Bowman continued. “I’m as motivated as ever, doing everything I can to try to be the best on and off the racetrack as I can be.”
If not for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman likely wouldn’t be in this opportunity right now. Bowman, was a Chevrolet development driver and doing a lot of simulator work for them. Earnhardt, hand picked Bowman as his replacement.
“Hendrick Motorsports is where I want to be,” Bowman of his future. “It’s where I want to stay for the rest of my career. It’s just where I’ve always wanted to be.
“Hopefully, we can make that happen, but it’s a contract year. Honestly, every year of my career has been a contract year, so it’s not much different than last year.”