BY ALLEN GREGORY BRISTOL HERALD COURIER
Alex Bowman is the NASCAR version of famous comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
The 28-year-old Tucson, Arizona native is a caring, pleasant guy who has won five Cup races in the past two seasons and qualified for the playoffs last year.
But like Dangerfield, Bowman gets no respect.
Take for example last Sunday’s performance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Thanks to a tire alert strategy call by crew chief Greg Ives, Bowman was able to hold off Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch at the finish.
Instead of celebrating that achievement, fans and media types this week focused on Busch’s profane post-race comments on his car radio.
Between obscenities, Busch complained that Bowman had “sustained” his seven career wins.
As expected, Bowman laughed at Busch’s latest display of lack of sportsmanship and tweeted that Busch’s words would make a clever slogan for a t-shirt.
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Long before Bowman took the helm of the famed #48 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports, he honed his racing craft by racing midget quarterbacks on short tracks across California and Arizona.
By age 17, Bowman was racing in the developing NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Last summer, Bowman sought more knowledge while racing the World of Outlaws DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida.
Bowman doesn’t have a famous last name or flashy personality, but he found a way to win at NASCAR’s top level.
He’s the same guy who spent all of 2017 as a test pilot for the Hendrick Empire.
The respect factor may come later, but Bowman should be appreciated now for his instincts, patience and ability to clinch wins when given the chance.
Pit Stops: It will be interesting to follow the story of Ty Gibbs in the Xfinity series. Building on a huge equipment advantage, the 19-year-old grandson of NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Joe Gibbs has won 18 ARCA races over the past three years. It also earned a few haters for its aggressive driving style and attitude. Gibbs picked up his fifth Xfinity victory on Saturday in Las Vegas, but Ryan Sieg joined the list of detractors after Gibbs knocked him down early in the first stage. …The Abingdon-based Highlands Motorsports team started the season in style last week as 14-year-old Katie Hettinger finished fifth in the Carolina Pro Late Model Series event at Southern National Motorsports Park in Lucama, North Carolina . Highland driver Luke Fenhaus, 17, will compete in the season opener of the $30,000 CARS Tour this Sunday at Caraway Speedway in Sophia, North Carolina. … Kingsport Speedway is set to host a $1,000 Enduro event dubbed the Spring Meltdown 100 on March 19, with the first points race scheduled for April 8. … Dirt racing fans should save the April 15 date for Schaeffer’s $10,000 to-win Spring Nationals at Wythe Raceway. The Super Late Model showcase is set to be streamed live on the FloRacing streaming service… Longtime racer, car owner and track official Jeff Roark of Abingdon has returned to his managerial position at the Motor Mile Speedway in Radford , which opened the season last week.
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