NASCAR: Why Alex Bowman Could Struggle at Bristol Motor Speedway

by Jonathan Howard

The Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway is a big deal. Alex Bowman will attempt to advance to the Round of 12, but can he? Hendrick Motorsports has four drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Bowman is in a decent position at 6th in the standings and +30 points over the cutoff line.

Still, it’s the playoffs and no one is safe, ever. A few very good races from guys like Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, or perhaps a win from Kevin Harvick can change everything. In all honesty, as long as Bowman finishes the race, or at least most of it, he should be fine. But for those hoping to see a big day from Bowman – be prepared for struggles.

During his career in the Cup Series, Alex Bowman has raced 12 times at Bristol on the regular pavement track. If you include his years with BK Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing then he has an average finish of about P19 or P20, depending on how you round up or down.

However, we’re smart enough to give Bowman some slack. Those teams didn’t have a lot of money, they were not running very fast cars, and it was more showing that Bowman could handle a Cup Series ride. So, how about his results since going to Hendrick? Well, they’ve improved. He has averaged about P14 or P15 in his eight starts since 2018.

Alex Bowman’s Short Track Results, What Vegas Thinks

If we look back at the results at short tracks since 2021, it gives us a decent look into what to expect from Alex Bowman on Sunday. Of course, he could go out and lead every lap and take the checkered flag making this point moot. But speculating is what we’re here to do, right?

The Bristol results are one thing. But how does he compete at this style of track in general? Well, since 2021 his average finish at Martinsville, Bristol, and Richmond is about P12. During that time, he has two wins, one a piece at Martinsville and Richmond – Bowman also has a top five finish at Bristol from this same race last year.

When it comes to the bookmakers, it’s more bad news for Alex Bowman and his fans. It isn’t horrible, but Bowman is listed 14th in the list of odds and favorites. He has odds of 30-1 heading into the race, not a whole lot of faith from Vegas.