Alex Bowman’s rookie joke prompts a “serious” question

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 10: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on March 10, 2018 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Twitter can be a dangerous weapon, when it comes to getting facts straight, as Alex Bowman highlighted this week in Las Vegas.

A fan on Twitter asked Bowman if he is the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie to qualify for the Playoffs. With tongue in cheek, Bowman replied in the affirmative.

In reality, other rookies have qualified for the postseason, notably Denny Hamlin in 2006 (when he won both Pocono races from the pole), Chris Buescher in 2016 (when he won a rain-shortened race at Pocono) and Chase Elliott in 2016 (when he made the Playoffs on points and finished 10th in the final standings).

So, first, Bowman wouldn’t be the first rookie to make the Playoffs. Second, he isn’t a rookie. Though 2018 is his first full-time year in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, it isn’t his first full season.

Bowman spent a couple of admittedly forgettable years in lower-level equipment before earning his place as the successor to Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bowman’s rookie year was 2014, when he competed as a 21-year-old for BK Racing.

Bowman says the whole “rookie” phenomenon is an inside joke.

“It’s just been a joke on Twitter all season, so I’m just committing to it,” Bowman told the NASCAR Wire Service. “I think it pays to win Rookie of the Year, so I’m trying to beat (teammate) William (Byron) for that. I think we’re ahead of him in it right now—but, no, it’s a joke.

“Some people on Twitter really don’t get it, and it’s really funny, but I got asked (on Playoffs media day) what it’s like to be the first rookie to make the Playoff, as a serious question, which I don’t know where that came from… Somebody was reading Twitter and took it to be fact way too much.”

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.