When the NASCAR Cup Series drivers head to Kansas Speedway on Sunday, Alex Bowman will mark an important milestone in his career. He will make his 200th career start in the top series while trying to reach Victory Lane for the second time in 2021.
The 28-year-old Bowman celebrated the milestone on Sunday with a photo posted on Twitter. He showed a portion of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, which featured a special decal marking his 200th start, as well as the date of the Buschy McBusch Race 400.
Bowman will not be the only driver celebrating a special occasion on Sunday. Fellow driver Ryan Newman will make his 700th start in a career that started back in 2000 with a race at Phoenix. The two drivers will both try to celebrate major milestones in their respective careers by reaching Victory Lane.
Bowman started his career with small teams and zero wins
While he may be the driver of the iconic No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro, Bowman did not start his Cup career with a high-powered team. He began racing in the Cup Series for BK Racing in 2014, running the full schedule and posting a season-best finish of 13th at Daytona International Speedway.
Bowman returned to the Cup Series in 2015, joining Tommy Baldwin Racing for a full schedule. Once again, he struggled to crack the top 20, only doing so once. Bowman finished 16th at Talladega Superspeedway and then parted ways with the team at the end of the season.
He returned to the Cup Series in 2016, albeit on a limited basis. Bowman joined Hendrick Motorsports as a replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the second half of the season due to concussions. Bowman made 10 starts while alternating with Jeff Gordon, finishing top-10 three times.
Bowman turned a corner in 2018 with another full-time ride
Following his part-time schedule with HMS, Bowman returned to the Cup Series. He replaced Earnhardt in the No. 88 Chevrolet and kicked off a stint lasting four years thus far. Bowman has continued to improve each season with HMS, winning his first race in 2019 and posting three consecutive second-place finishes at Talladega, Dover, and Kansas.
Bowman has continued to find success during his HMS career. He has three consecutive seasons with a win and a total of 18 top-five finishes. Bowman also managed to do something that no HMS driver has done since 2008 — he won at Richmond Speedway. The team has historically struggled at Richmond with Jimmie Johnson being the last person to reach Victory Lane.
Johnson retired at the end of the 2020 season, vacating the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Bowman took over the iconic car and immediately faced raised expectations. Racing fans wondered if he would be the next person to win a Cup championship in the No. 48.
The season started in an interesting fashion for Bowman. He won the pole position for the Daytona 500 but finished the season-opening race 35th due to an early crash that collected several cars. The No. 48 team has continued to experience both success and struggles during the first 10 races of the season, but Bowman is currently headed toward the playoffs after winning at Richmond. Now he will try to secure a second win during Sunday’s Buschy McBush Race 400.