Alex Bowman’s car usually stands out at NASCAR Cup Series races, no matter what position he’s in on the track.
His typical paint scheme for his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is white with vibrant sponsor Ally colors surrounding it. It’s really hard to miss.
This will always be true for Bowman’s Nashville Superspeedway paint scheme. But this time his car has a totally different look, thanks to a collaboration with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“It’s always cool to work with Dale,” Bowman told For The Win last week. “I feel like it’s really creative and its designer is really, really good. So just a really cool race car. I think last year’s was great too, but this year’s is Very cool. …
“I’m not the most creative person in the world, and he’s super creative and really particular with the race cars he’s driven – and then also with this deal.”
Last year, for the Ally 400 – Nashville’s first-ever Cup Series race – Earnhardt and NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon each designed dueling paint schemes, and fans, in a blind vote, chose Earnhardt’s design for the race.
There’s no contest this time, so the scheme is primarily the vision of Dale Jr. and designer Ryan Williams, Bowman said. Driver #48 is a big fan of the look of his standard car in vibrant colors, like Ally’s grapefruit pink. And he got some cool paint schemes, including his Sonoma Raceway look, which featured LGBTQ+ pride colors inside Ally logo icons.
But his car from Nashville is definitely different from the others.
“All the Nashville elements that they’ve included are really, really cool, and all the little Easter eggs in the car are cool,” Bowman said. “I think the car felt good. Probably better than if I had had a lot to do with it.
The first egg is pretty obvious if you spot the car when it’s not rolling down the 1.333-mile Nashville track. On the hood of the car as the shadow of Ally’s logo is a guitar. Well, the head, the pegs and a glimpse of the neck of a guitar.
But more hidden, as Bowman noted, are a few picks in the schematic.
Two of them have the name O of Bowman printed above the car’s two side windows. The other two are neon yellow and sit towards the bottom of the car on the side skirt with Ally’s A inside.
And speaking of which, it’s the highlight of the paint scheme for its driver.
“My favorite part is the fact that somehow we forced ourselves to have the design carry over to the side skirt, or the lower body, of the car. , you see that black this year. With the automaker’s cars, that area has always been black, and I think it looks really, really cool with the design going that far.
Although Bowman loves this royal purple and magenta paint scheme, he was almost tricked into thinking he would end up with a particularly ugly car. Earnhardt and Williams attempted to trick Bowman and presented him with design options which he called “pretty awful”.
But they didn’t fool Bowman too much, because when he walked into a room to talk about the schemes, there was a camera and a boom mic. Already suspicious, Bowman said he knew immediately they were laughing at him when the first car he saw had the number 88 – Earnhardt’s old number (and, for a few seasons, Bowman’s) since he ran for Hendrick – not number 48 on it. .
“I thought they were going to show me the real thing at the end, and then the last one was the worst yet,” Bowman explained. “So yeah, I’m glad it wasn’t any of that, but it was pretty funny.”
Last season, in the first Cup Series race in Nashville, Bowman finished 14th, while teammate Kyle Larson took the checkered flag. He’s hoping for a better finish at the June 26 race — he’s had one win so far in 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway — while he’s eager to see how his car looks on the track compared to the renders.
But he still loves his 2021 Earnhardt-designed look.
“Last year is probably pretty tough to beat.”
The 2022 Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway is Sunday, June 26 at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.