Arizona native preparing to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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Arizona native Alex Bowman is preparing to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Source: The Associated Press) Arizona native Alex Bowman is preparing to replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Source: The Associated Press)
The 24-year-old started 10 races last season when Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with a concussion. (Source: YouTubeNASCAR) The 24-year-old started 10 races last season when Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with a concussion. (Source: YouTubeNASCAR)
He won the pole and lead for 194 laps in Phoenix last November before a collision with Kyle Busch. (Source: YouTubeNASCAR) He won the pole and lead for 194 laps in Phoenix last November before a collision with Kyle Busch. (Source: YouTubeNASCAR)
Bowman will drive in front of his home fans at PIR on March 10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Bowman will drive in front of his home fans at PIR on March 10. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Alex Bowman is preparing to replace a legend. 

He has been tabbed as the replacement driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who stunned the sports world announcing his retirement in the spring. 

“It’s a dream come true,” says Bowman, a Tucson native reached at his current home in North Carolina. “I can’t wait to get started. To get to go full time racing with my name on the door is going to be really cool.”

Bowman has plenty of experience in the 88 car. The 24-year-old started 10 races last season when Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with a concussion.

Bowman delivered, surprising the field at his home state track, Phoenix International Raceway. He won the pole and lead for 194 laps in Phoenix last November before a collision with Kyle Busch and then Matt Kenseth on an overtime restart cost him a shot at the checkered flag.

“There's probably not a day goes by where I don’t look at a shelf and say, man, that trophy would have looked good there,” says Bowman. “That day is probably one of the things that helped me get the ride in the 88 car. I grew up going to races at PIR, raced quarter midgets there when I was a kid.”

These days Bowman lives in North Carolina. Arizona, though, will always be home.

“It’s a cool place to be from,” says Bowman. “When I got to North Carolina, not a lot of people thought of Arizona as having a lot of racing but there’s [sic] so many historic tracks and huge names that have come from that area. It’s cool to represent that area again.”

Bowman was patient after his success in 2017 subbing for Earnhardt and doesn’t have a full-time ride this season. He spends his days driving a simulator, working on his backyard with his dogs and cycling with Earnhardt. February, though, can’t get here fast enough.

“I want to go win cup races and cup championships,” says Bowman. “That’s what I expect, that’s why they hired me.”

Bowman will make his full-time Monster Energy Series debut in the 88 car at the 2018 Daytona 500 and will drive in front of his home fans at PIR on March 10. 

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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