We live in a weird world.
No more than five years ago, Alex Bowman‘s racing claim to fame in NASCAR was this: climbing from a Tommy Baldwin Racing car at New Hampshire in 2015 as its right-side tire caught fire and sent the car up in flames.
That was it.
Aside from two Xfinity Series top fives with Robby Benton in 2013, the Arizona native with a dirt racing background was a non-factor driving backmarker cars at stock car racing’s top levels.
In 2015, Bowman even famously said in an interview he was resigned to the fact he would never get a call from Hendrick Motorsports to race for the team.
All of this makes our current situation, three races into the 2022 NASCAR season, remarkably hilarious.
What’s so funny?
Take it away, Kyle Busch.
Kyle Busch reaction to Bowman winning: "The same fucking guy who backs into every fucking win that he ever fucking gets backs into another fucking win. Bullshit!"
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) March 7, 2022
Imagine if I’d told you seven years ago that the driver of Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 car would one day:
- Be the successor to both Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson
- Have seven Cup wins in his first 158 starts with Hendrick Motorsports
- Have five more wins than William Byron in just 11 more starts for the team
- Piss off half the Cup drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing in a five-month span after beating them in overtime finishes
Oh, and let’s not forget the shirts.
Bowman owns the field when it comes to merchandise capitalizing on one-sided driver feuds — or as one Reddit user referred to them, “Troll Tees.” Though Busch has been known to produce shirts based on his own misadventures (maybe this is all just a really intricate game of shirt design one-upmanship on Bowman and Busch’s part). And now Busch’s website is selling shirts 48% off, because why not?
Family sport friendly… 18% of the proceeds backing into an animal shelter near you https://t.co/YTNdSOowYQ
— Alex Bowman (@Alex_Bowman) March 7, 2022
It’s icing on the cake for the Alex Bowman-themed fever dream we’re all living through.
Whether it’s a shirt inspired by being called a “Hack” by Denny Hamlin at Martinsville or a back-door winner by Busch, Bowman doesn’t seem to let any of it phase him. Why should he when he’s the one winning and they’re not?
It’s probably just jealousy, anyway.
In the last 39 NASCAR Cup races, Bowman has taken the checkered flag five times.
Busch has only four wins dating back to the 2019 season finale at Homestead. Hamlin has three wins since October 2020.
Now imagine being Kyle Larson.
Including Sunday’s race, in three of Bowman’s seven Cup wins Larson was the second-place finisher. In a fourth, at Pocono last year, Larson was leading on the final lap when he cut a tire and hit the turn 3 wall, opening the door for Bowman.
In all, no one not named Hamlin, Kyle Busch or Larson has ever finished second to Bowman or not been involved in some fashion in the outcome.
ACS: Kyle Busch
Pocono: Busch (after Larson lost tire in final turn)
Martinsville: Busch (after Hamlin incident)
Vegas: Larson (Busch 4th after leading before OT)
— Daniel McFadin (@danielmcfadin) March 8, 2022
Bowman may have “backed” into some of his wins, but that’s only because he had raced his way into a position to capitalize on other’s misfortune or bad strategy.
A win is a win is a win is a win is a win.
Or more simply: scoreboard, baby.
2022 is Daniel McFadin’s ninth year covering NASCAR, with six years spent at NBC Sports. This is his second year writing columns for Frontstretch. His columns won third place in the National Motorsports Press Association awards for 2021. His work can also be found at SpeedSport.com.
About the author
Daniel McFadin is a 7-year veteran of the NASCAR media corp. He wrote for NBC Sports from 2015 to October 2020. He's currently a freelancer and lead reporter and editor for Frontstretch. He is also host of the NASCAR show "Dropping the Hammer with Daniel McFadin" on YouTube and in podcast form.
You can email him at email@example.com.
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