Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman is heading toward Sunday’s race at Talladega after winning his first race of the season. His victory moved him up in the NASCAR playoff points standings, and now he is ready for another challenge. He will have to balance teamwork and selfishness while fighting for a win in the Geico 500.
Bowman met with the media on Friday morning and detailed his recovery from his Richmond celebration, a pit penalty that nearly derailed his win, and his preparation for Talladega. Bowman also explained during this availability that there are different approaches to races. Some drivers “partner up” at Talladega in order to help each other while others mostly look after their own car.
“I think that having friends on the race track doesn’t really benefit you except for this week going to Talladega,” Bowman told the assembled media members. “I respect everybody I race with. There are a few guys in the Cup garage I would consider friends, but I’m not there to make friends. I’m there to do the best I can.
“I have a pretty small circle of friends. It’s not just an in-racing thing. I have a small group, I keep to myself, and I do my own thing. I think that being selfish is definitely rewarding in the Cup Series, but this week I need all the friends that I can get.”
Bowman and his teammates have a unique relationship on the track
The driver of the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Bowman is one of four figures in the Hendrick stable. The team also features Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, and William Byron. These four drivers all have playoff experience and wins on their resumes, and they know when to work together and when to fight for the win.
Heading toward Talladega, there will be opportunities for the HMS drivers to work together in order to reach the front of the pack. Bowman explained that they will do so to a point, but they will still try to beat each other to the finish line. Though he did explain that he will still support his teammates if he can’t find success.
“The goal is to go win Talladega, and if you have to be selfish to do that, that’s fine as long as you win,” Bowman elaborated. “We’re all going to work together as much as we can, and if we can’t win, we want one of the other HMS cars to be there and to be winning it.”
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made similar comments about track friends
Bowman was not the only driver facing questions about having friends on the race track. Stenhouse, the driver of the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet Camaro, also addressed the concept during his Friday media availability. He explained that current points leader Denny Hamlin is part of a four-car stable at Joe Gibbs Racing but that he primarily looks out for himself.
“I think that everybody sits here and talks about the friends that they have and your teammates going to work in the draft,” Stenhouse said. “When you get out on the race track, you really don’t see a whole lot of big-time help from people. Everybody still makes the decisions based off what is going to benefit them in the end.
“I’m ok with racing like that. One thing that’s kept us being in contention for wins is making decisions that’s going to benefit your team and your partners. … If you watch the 11, yeah he has teammates out there, but he does and makes moves constantly that benefit him and his team. I feel like that’s why he’s won so many Daytona 500s. That’s why he’s in the mix at the end of these races.
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