Unearthed Daytona 500 Stats Shockingly Reveal Alex Bowman’s Superiority Over Dale Earnhardt Jr

Published 02/12/2024, 12:45 AM EST

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From a humble aspiring racer who sat behind the stage, helping sell T-shirts beside the C.J. Leary car at the Chili Bowl midget nationals, to becoming one of the most promising talents on the roster, Alex Bowman‘s life came full circle. And now, the #48 Hendrick Motorsports speedster is miles ahead of where he started—light years ahead of Dale Jr who has conquered the “Great American Race” twice. Ahead of Bowman’s Daytona run, NASCAR’s stat guy shared the driver’s accomplishment that puts him up above the list, trouncing over greats like Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, and even Jeff Gordon.

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In 2018, Bowman was tasked with replacing the Pied Piper of Daytona, Junior in his #88 HMS Chevy, and he did that with the utmost dedication. Making a name for himself once he was on the big stage, he won the pole in his first-ever Daytona 500 as Junior’s replacement.

NASCAR stat guy uncovers the surreal Daytona achievement of Alex Bowman

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Many know Bowman just as the driver of Rick Hendrick’s #48 Chevy before he made it big in NASCAR. However, he was a budding dirt racer, helping out selling merchandise to fuel his Midget racing ambitions. Neither the fans who bought out the apparel nor Bowman himself thought he would be in the seat of NASCAR’s most popular driver, driving for HMS, which would later become his home.

And boy, oh boy, did he do more than just be a replacement! Despite being tasked with the toughest job of being Junior’s replacement driver, the then 24-year-old shot for the moon, qualifying with the fastest time in his first Daytona venture in the #88 car. Seeing his car fly past the Cup Series regulars, snagging the pole, Dale Earnhardt Jr shared on “X” – Awesome! Great job @AlexBowman88 @TeamHendrick on the Daytona 500 pole! @Ives_Greg and the gang built a fast one.”

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From there, it was almost a smooth cruise for Bowman, who later on got a full-time role in the #48, which he is still ringing to the limit. Now, coming to the crux of the matter, ahead of the highly anticipated Daytona run, Trey Ryan, a NASCAR stat guy, and enthusiast, uncovered Bowman’s supremacy over greats like Bill Elliott, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Jr, among others, for the most front-row starts in the Daytona 500.

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He even one-upped Elliott, Gordon, and “The King” with six front-row starts in NASCAR’s crown jewel event. Bowman sets himself apart as one of the most consistent drivers in the field, separating himself from Junior, who has four front row starts at the Daytona 500 to his name. What makes that record even more impressive is the fact that he qualified for the front row for six straight years. And even thought there was a dent to his aspirations last year owing to a vertebrae fracture that saw him being ruled out a couple of Cup races, Bowman’s performance before the fateful incident was indeed a testament to his abilities.

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Coupling a consistent driver with one of the organization’s most winning teams is bound to have massive results. And it certainly did. Bowman’s fairytale story is the stuff of legends, climbing to the top of Stock Car Racing just with sheer grit and talent. It was only last year that Bowman got ousted from the tournament, unable to make the playoffs, but his initial run in the series was more than promising.

Finishing the season-opener Clash fourth, Alex Bowman put on a show, starting up front and finishing with a top-notch top-5 finish at Daytona. With his Daytona superiority now loud and clear, can the HMS ace his career-best finish (P5) and rack up a win this season? Well, his crew chief is optimistic and has faith in the driver.

According to HendrickMotorsports.com, Blake Harris, crew chief of the #48, said, “We are going to take each week as it comes, as we did last year, but we are going for the win straight out of the box.” While he clearly understands that things don’t go according to plan, he is positive that the team and the driver will do all it takes to get over last year’s disappointment, saying, “Last year, we went to L.A., had a good run, and were super competitive. Rolling with momentum into Daytona, we go sit on the front row and come out of there with a top five. You can’t script that type of momentum going into the season. It carried up until the point where Alex (Bowman) got hurt.”

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READ MORE: Kevin Harvick Believes Joey Logano and Ty Gibbs Feud is Just Starting Its Course

Do you think Alex Bowman will be able to go above and beyond this year?

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Written by:

Kishore R

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Kishore is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. He actively covers live events and does detailed race analyses, helping fans understand the very nitty gritties of the sport. Using the right mix of storytelling and game expertise, Kishore can take his readers on a journey to see how a particular race was for some of their most loved drivers, like Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott.
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Edited by:

Ariva Debnath

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