Alex Bowman is excited and anxious as he plays his part in finding a new crew chief for 2023

Regardless of the talent of the driver behind the wheel, it takes a crew chief he can count on and trust to maximize his capabilities in a race car. And for many years Alex Bowman had just that in Greg Ives.

In 2016, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with post-concussion syndrome, he inherited Yves Bowman – then a young and uncertain Cup driver who suddenly lost his ride at Tommy Baldwin Racing before the start of the season – and was tasked with giving him what he needed to highlight his talent as a replacement driver for Earnhardt. In 2018, the two were paired together again when Earnhardt retired, and they have since succeeded with seven wins, two Daytona 500 poles, and five playoffs with the best finish of sixth in the final standings in 2020.

But despite their success, their time together as driver and crew chief is about to end. Ives recently announced that he is stepping down as crew chief From Team Bowman’s 48th at the end of the 2022 season, he took another role at Hendrick Motorsports in order to focus on the efforts of his family and son Parker as a go-kart racer.

Speaking to CBS Sports, Bowman expressed support for Ives’ decision to step down, noting that he and his chief of staff had discussed the matter in the weeks before it was announced.

“I think he has a lot going on with his family and Parker racing, there’s a lot going on at home, and the (NASCAR) schedule — frankly, he’s going to take a lot from everything else in your life,” Bowman told CBS Sports. “I am happy for him and happy that he will be able to spend more time with Parker and the rest of his family.

“I think it’s going to be the last nine fun races together. I think we’re really trying to enjoy it, and I’ve always enjoyed working with Greg. I’m glad he’s still on the HMS team, and excited for the future for him.”

While he looks to the future for his longtime crew chief, Bowman’s immediate future involves many things. As the 48th Chevrolet driver, and now a veteran of nearly nine seasons, Hendrik Motorsports and Team Competition Vice President Chad Knaus benefited from Bowman’s important contribution and involvement in the process of appointing his new Chief of Staff for 2023.

Somehow – and especially since Ives inherited him as his driver – Bowman now has the opportunity to make his racing team his own by helping choose who will run over the pit. With that said, Bowman left room for apprehension and trepidation, as he would never have known success in the Cup series without Ives as his crew chief.

“It’s been an interesting process to have a lot of input to see who we can have as crew chief next year…but I think there’s definitely some stress and anxiety, right?” Bowman said. “Like, I’ve never known a successful cup program without Greg. All the other teams I’ve driven for have been small, low-budget teams we’ve been trying to get.

“Then I came to Hendrick Motorsports and we won a lot of races and had a lot of success. And that was all with Greg. So I don’t know anything else. It will be different for sure, and there is some tension to that. But also exciting at the same time.”

The good news for Bowman is that being with a racing team of Hendrick Motorsports caliber means there are plenty of options to choose from. While Bowman told CBS Sports that his crew chief’s search will not be limited to internal candidates and that external candidates will also be considered, Hendrick Motorsports has a deep roster of employees who could be considered as Ives before, when his path to becoming a crew chief began. As mechanic Hendrik and then engineer on Team 48.

“I think the best fit for the job is to get the job whether they are internal employees or from elsewhere,” Bowman said. “I think in some situations it definitely makes things easier, and I think one of the best parts of HMS is the depth of really good people.

“I think that helps us not only in this situation, but every week – whatever projects we take on or whatever is going on in store, the depth of the wonderful people at HMS is a huge benefit.”

The best way Bowman can give Ives a proper farewell, and make the team’s 48th headliner opening even more lucrative, is to take a deep tour of the NASCAR playoffs—something that doesn’t seem likely to come short. Since the period.

After scoring three times in the first and nine of the top 10 early in the season, including a win in Las Vegas, Bowman and his team endured an awful array of races all summer. No one scored in the top ten in June or July, which included a stretch of four DNFs in a six-race stretch.

Since he finally got the top 10 of Michigan’s other players, the team’s fortunes have started to slip. His average finish in the last five races is 13.4, including 10th in the opener in Darlington after having to overcome both damage on the pit road and being caught in a lap when the warning came during a green lap flag pit stop.

Entering Kansas – one of the best racetracks statistically – Bowman finished 10th in the Round of 16 and 10 points above the cut-off line for the Round of 12. Even as he continued to be overlooked in yet another playoff appearance, Bowman’s recent performance made him optimistic about what could That he and his team do—especially with him and sync his crew chief on one last ride together.

“I think the last two weeks before qualifying started, we were really fast. Maybe we didn’t show that, especially Watkins Glen in Daytona, we were really strong. I think those races didn’t end the way we wanted, but we had a really good pace,” Bowman said. “Then we went to Darlington, and I don’t think we were great, but we were very strong… I think we beat a lot. Staying in the top 10 has been really strong for us, and I think we’re in a good position going forward.

“Greg and I are probably the most motivated we’ve both seen at the same time. We have fast race cars, we’re going to good racetracks for us, and I think we’re in a good place.”

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