Before heading to Talladega Superspeedway for Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Round of 12 playoff race (2 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Alex Bowman spent Wednesday in Kansas City, Kansas, packing boxes for those in need. (UPDATE: The race will resume in Stage 2 on Monday at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.)
Bowman paid a visit to Giving the Basics, a non-profit organization that donates personal hygiene products to those in need throughout the area. The organization ensures 230,000 people have access to the basics each month, while also donating products to local schools that reach 196,000 students, serving more than 76 pantries and 300 schools each year.
With the help of Kansas Speedway, Bowman and other volunteers packaged dozens of boxes of lotion for those who are unable to have access to the essentials otherwise.
“It all hits home, it’s humbling and it kind of puts things in perspective,” Bowman told NASCAR.com. “It’s something that I never really thought about. You think about giving food or healthcare, but never really thought about basic things like shampoo and soap and deodorant. It’s neat to give back and tackle that area with Giving the Basics.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 9, 2019
Next weekend, Bowman will head back to the Sunflower State for the NASCAR Playoffs Round of 12 elimination race at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 20 (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). But first, he and the No. 88 team need to tackle the Talladega high banks as they sit seventh in points with two races remaining, 17 points above the cutline.
With Kyle Larson locked into the Round of 8, seven spots remain for the taking. While Bowman has a slight cushion, there’s no room to relax heading into the wild-card race of Talladega, but that doesn’t mean he’s losing sleep over it, either.
“If you just sit here nervous all week, it’s not a lot of fun,” Bowman said. “… Just have to go out there and run up front all day. That’s all you can do.”
Bowman and teammate Chase Elliott worked together to control the top-two positions in the spring race, as Bowman pushed Elliott to his first Talladega triumph. But surprisingly, Bowman isn’t focused on that second-place result to give him comfort.
“I think superspeedway races are really the only races that you can’t look at past results and really have a lot of confidence,” Bowman said. “Unless you dominate one, lead the whole thing and go out there and win one, it’s hard to look at second place and be like, oh yeah, we can go out there and do that again easily. It’s really easy to have a bad day.”
In the most recent races at the 2.66-mile Alabama superspeedway, we’ve seen organizations – and even manufacturers – link up to find the front.
“I think it’s really just who has the best strategy going in and who can execute that the best,” Bowman said. “Talladega is a hard place. Anything can happen. It’s easy to have a plan and just not be able to execute on it because of circumstances.”
“If one manufacturer is working really well together and a wreck wipes out half their cars, that story’s over,” he added. “It’s tough.”
Coming off a third-place finish at Dover, Bowman holds a ton of confidence in his Greg Ives-led 88 team. If they can avoid catastrophe at Talladega, Bowman feels they have a legitimate shot to win at Kansas, site of another runner-up result in the regular season while also winning at a similar track in Chicagoland Speedway in June.
“I think things are going well for us right now,” Bowman said. “Our superspeedway cars are really good, so we can go there and be good. Going to Kansas, I think we can be really strong. That’s a great race track and one of my favorite places we go. It’ll be really good.”