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Could Kansas give Alex Bowman best shot at first Cup win?

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 - Practice

TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 26: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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In a sense, Alex Bowman has nowhere else to go but up.

After two straight NASCAR Cup career-best second-place finishes at Talladega and this past Monday’s rain-delayed race at Dover, Bowman is knocking on the door of potentially earning his first Cup win this Saturday night in the Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway.

“We are coming off two great weekends,” Bowman said in a media release. “Talladega is a speedway, so there is a lot of luck involved in that one. Dover, however, is just physically exhausting. We had a shot at the win and that is all that you can ask for.

“I have to give credit to (crew chief Greg Ives) and the No. 88 guys. They put a great car together last weekend and they should definitely be proud of Monday’s execution. We will continue moving forward with this momentum and try to finish one spot better on Saturday night.”

Even though he has yet to reach victory lane in a Cup car, Kansas has been a welcoming track for Bowman. His best finish there was seventh in fall 2016, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the last 18 races of that season due to a concussion. He also finished ninth in last fall’s playoff race there.

“This is one of my favorite tracks to be honest,” the Tucson, Arizona native said of this weekend’s venue. “I feel like when you run at night versus during the day, the track doesn’t change much and feels really the same. The top always comes in, which makes the racing fun.

“This is a race that I definitely look forward to coming to.”

This week’s Kansas Speedway venue has been historically good for Hendrick Motorsports as a whole, as well. It’s the winningest organization at Kansas with seven Cup wins: three each by NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, as well as Chase Elliott’s win there in last fall’s playoff race.

The 26-year-old Bowman’s back-to-back runner-up finishes in the No. 88 Chevrolet have helped him climb from 21st in the Cup standings after Richmond to 13th after Dover.

Before his two most recent finishes, Bowman’s best outings this year were a pair of 11th-place finishes in the season-opening Daytona 500 and two races later at Las Vegas, also a 1.5-mile track like Kansas Speedway.

“Kansas Speedway is cool because it’s newer pavement, but it’s widened out a lot,” Bowman said. “You can run from the bottom to the top. That is one of the only newer paved places that you can do that right now. I enjoy going there as much as it widens out.”