Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman has made a big announcement. He has set the Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway on November 6 as the date for his return to the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro.
Bowman released a video on Twitter on October 28 to announce the news. He expressed excitement about his return from a concussion, and he made it clear that his goal is to win his final race with Greg Ives as his crew chief. They were close in 2016 with a sixth-place finish after starting from the pole.
“We’re thrilled Alex is 100% and will have the opportunity to race at his home track,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “Throughout this process, he’s been incredibly diligent about following the advice of his doctors and prioritizing his health. All of us look forward to welcoming Alex back and seeing him finish 2022 with his No. 48 teammates.”
Bowman originally suffered a concussion on September 25 during the trip to Texas Motor Speedway. He has since missed races at Talladega Superspeedway, the Charlotte Roval, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Bowman Received Clearance Prior to Martinsville’s Race Weekend
HMS and Bowman both confirmed the Arizona native’s return to the race car on October 28 before the trip to Martinsville Speedway. However, the team noted that Noah Gragson will continue to serve as the replacement driver during Halloween weekend.
“Due to the timing, everyone agreed it was best to stick with our plan for Martinsville and allow the team to fully prepare for Alex’s return next weekend,” Andrews said. “On behalf of everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, we’re grateful to Noah for stepping in and doing a terrific job under difficult circumstances. He’s a big talent and has been a complete professional.”
Gragson has made four starts in the No. 48 as the replacement driver for Bowman. He has two top-20 finishes, including an 11th-place run at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was also running seventh at the Roval with three laps to go before contact from Austin Cindric sent him spinning into Turn 1.
Gragson will now return to action at a track where he has a previous Xfinity Series win. Though he has no Cup Series experience at Martinsville Speedway considering that AJ Allmendinger was in the No. 16 Kaulig Racing entry in the spring.
Bowman Has Made 13 Career Starts at Phoenix Raceway
Bowman’s return will take place at what is essentially his home track. He will make his 14th career Cup Series start at Phoenix Raceway, and he will pursue his second top-10 finish after missing five races.
Bowman’s sixth-place finish in 2016 was his best performance. Since that race, he has posted two DNFs and six top-20 finishes. This includes a pair of 13th-place finishes in 2018 and 2021.
The Next Gen era led to Bowman securing another top-15 finish. He headed to the Arizona track one week after winning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and he started ninth overall. Bowman secured points in Stage 1 before ultimately ending the day 14th overall while Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe won his first career race.