Auto Club Speedway Honors Alex Bowman With Special Ceremony

Getty Alex Bowman will take part in a special ceremony at Auto Club Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, February 27 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX). Track officials will use the opportunity to hold a special ceremony for Alex Bowman, the winner of the 2020 Cup race at the California track.

The driver of the No. 48 Ally Racing Chevrolet Camaro will be inducted into the Auto Club Walk of Fame on Saturday, February 26, the morning of the Xfinity Series race. Track officials will provide him with a specially-designed surfboard sponsored by Jersey Mike’s. Additionally, they will present him with a bronze plaque, which he will place into wet cement.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver will place his footprints in the wet cement and add his signature to cap off the special ceremony. He will join a stacked list of competitors on the Walk of Fame that also includes six-time ACS winner Jimmie Johnson, four-time ACS winner Kyle Busch, three-time ACS winners Jeff Gordon, and Matt Kenseth, two-time winner Tony Stewart, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Jeremy Mayfield, Rusty Wallace, Kurt Busch, Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, and Carl Edwards.

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“It’s really cool. Kind of cool to actually get to go back to somewhere that I’ve won,” Bowman told Heavy during a media availability on February 24. “We tend to not let me do that. I got to go back to Richmond last year, but other than that, I haven’t gone back anywhere as a winner. So it’s cool to be able to do that and [I’m] excited for that experience.”

Bowman’s Previous Trip to Fontana Featured a Dominant Win

Alex Bowman

GettyAlex Bowman celebrates a win at Auto Club Speedway in 2020.

Bowman, who drove the No. 88 Chevrolet at the time, headed to Auto Club Speedway in 2020 with only one career win (Chicagoland Speedway in 2019). He then turned in a dominant performance that included a Stage 1 win, the lead on 110 of the 200 laps, and an 8.904-second advantage over Kyle Busch.

This win, along with some strong performances during the playoffs, propelled Bowman to the Round of Eight for the first time in his career. He finished a career-high sixth overall in the championship standings while teammate Chase Elliott won his first title.

As Bowman explained to media members, Hendrick Motorsports headed to Auto Club Speedway in 2020 after dialing in the intermediate program. The team had a really good car, which Bowman used to post the third-fastest qualifying time behind Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson.

“We had a really good car, and we were really good the entire weekend from the time we unloaded. So [it] made my job a bit easier than normal and just had a really good car the whole time we were there,” Bowman said.

Auto Club Speedway served as the site of the Arizona native’s second career victory, but he has since added even more to his resume. He won four times during a breakout 2021 campaign — Richmond Raceway, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, and Martinsville Speedway.

Recreating This Success Will Not Be Simple

While Bowman has a previous win at Auto Club Speedway, he will not have an easy path to a repeat victory. He will have to contend with a new stock car that handles differently than the Gen 6, and he will face off with some stiff competition.

“I don’t think you can drive this year’s car as loose as you could with the previous gen car, and I was really loose that whole weekend,” Bowman added during his media availability. “It was just really fast. So I think [it’s] kind of going a little bit different direction than we were then, and this car’s so different every way that it’s hard to apply much.”

While there will be a learning curve with the Gen 7, Bowman will have time to adjust. There will be a 15-minute practice session to test out the No. 48 HMS Chevrolet Camaro, followed by the first of two qualifying sessions. If Bowman posts one of the fastest times, he will move on to the second round and try to secure the Busch Light Pole Award.

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