By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Although he doesn’t have a ride lined up for the 2017 NASCAR season, Alex Bowman looks to have a role at Hendrick Motorsports again this year.
Bowman, 23, will continue running the simulator program at HMS, and if unfortunate circumstances strike any of the four Hendrick drivers this season — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne — Bowman should be first in line to relieve the drivers.
Bowman split driving duties of the No. 88 Chevrolet with Jeff Gordon over the second-half of 2016 after Earnhardt suffered a season-ending concussion. In 10 starts, Bowman actually out-performed Gordon by recording three top-10 finishes and winning the pole for the fall race at Phoenix International Raceway.
In a recent interview with USA Today, Gordon said that something strange would have to happen to get him out of retirement to fill in again this year.
“[Bowman’s] in a position with Hendrick Motorsports doing a lot of simulation work and debriefs. He did a great job behind the wheel last year,” Gordon said. “So, I think that a lot of [me filling in] had to do with they weren’t real sure what the scenario was going to be with Alex and then also with sponsors or how long Junior was going to be out, so that was a pretty unique scenario. And I think it would have to be a very unique one for me to step in [in 2017.]”
Gordon would go on to say that he would fill-in if needed, but that he didn’t feel he was the top candidate.
Hopefully for HMS, all of their drivers make it through the season healthy and they don’t have to worry about who to put behind the wheel of their cars. But if something does happen, they have a strong bullpen ready to roll.