By Cole Cusumano
At this point in Alex Bowman’s career he’s adopted a few nicknames, but it could be time to add one more: The Resurrector. Throughout his seven-year NASCAR Cup Series tenure, the Arizona native has only gone to victory lane three times, but a pair of those came in somewhat historic fashion.
Most recently, Bowman became the first driver at Hendrick Motorsports to win at Richmond Raceway since seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson in 2008. This victory also came just nine races since the former wheelman of the No. 48 stepped away from NASCAR and the 28-year-old filled in as his successor.
Maybe even more importantly, Bowman kept a winning tradition alive for the iconic No. 48 after snapping a 138-race drought — something he’s become accustomed to, but he’ll never take for granted.
“It’s a similar thing that I went through in the 88 and it’s cool to do it again in the 48 and put it back in victory lane,” Bowman told NEWS FROM THE PITS. “We want to win more. There’s some high expectations to live up to driving the 48 car, but to get it back in victory lane, to get Ally their first win, it’s really special.”
As alluded by Bowman, prior to piloting the No. 48 he served as the face of the No. 88 for Dale Earnhardt Jr. when he departed the sport in 2017. Ironically, in securing the first win of his career at Chicagoland Speedway, it was nearly four years since that ride was showered in confetti.
More than a moment of triumph for the numerical identity, this also marked the first points victory for Ally Financial since joining the sport in 2019. Andrea Brimmer has done an outstanding job in immersing her company in the NASCAR community with fun and innovative methods of interaction, while allowing both Johnson and Bowman to be more than sponsor ambassadors.
In Bowman’s case, he’s developed a persona centered around appreciation for dogs. Ally partnered with the Best Friends Animal Society — shelters that promote the adoption of rescue pets. The Hendrick Motorsports driver is able to be himself, while campaigning a great cause for his sponsor.
Marketing appeal is a vital necessity in NASCAR and Bowman has that tenfold driving for one of the most recognizable organizations in the sport with one of the most immersive sponsors as of late.
With victories in each of the last three seasons Bowman has seen success sporadically. There’s no denying Hendrick Motorsports resurgence over the past year, but the key will be sustaining this pace after securing his first win of 2021 for the No. 48 team.
Regardless, the point is Bowman has a knack for breathing life into once triumphant teams. This, coupled with the success of filling in for legends in NASCAR and having a personality sponsors can get behind could make him the perfect suitor for the No. 48.
Also — in a more coincidental passing of the torch than what occurred with Chase Elliott last year — Bowman brought the No. 48 to victory lane on the same day Johnson made his IndyCar debut.
Although it may seem impossible to leave a mark like Johnson has on the sport, it’s going to be exciting to watch the next chapter of the historic No. 48 and the legacy Bowman strives to leave behind.