Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

The reason for Alex Bowman's Xfinity return at New Hampshire

Alex Bowman will pull double duty this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as he also competes in Saturday's Xfinity Series race. There is a specific reason he chose this track for his Xfinity start.

As Bowman explained ahead of the race weekend, he just wants to improve at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Statistically, New Hampshire is not a track where Bowman has been in contention for the win. He made two starts at the 1.058-mile track in Xfinity and posted two top-10 finishes. He has 12 starts at New Hampshire in Cup with one top-10 finish and an average finish of 23.4.

"The interesting choice of that place for Alex is that New Hampshire is not one of his best tracks," said Blake Harris, Bowman's crew chief in Cup. "He's had a couple decent runs there -- but overall, it's not statistically his best. But -- he chose it because he wants to get better there.

"I think it will be good for him to get some laps in the Xfinity car, especially with the short practices, any lap time you get around those places is great. He'll be able to see the evolution of the track on Saturday in the Xfinity car so when we go rolling into Sunday I think he'll have a pretty good idea of how we need to approach it."

Bowman's first time behind the wheel of the No. 17 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet this season will be Friday afternoon. He will practice at 4:05 p.m. ET (USA Network). He will then qualify at 4:35 p.m. ET (USA Network).

The double-duty weekend provides Bowman with an opportunity to gain more experience at a track where he hasn't been particularly productive. It also sets up a reunion with his former crew chief.

Greg Ives will be atop the pit box for the No. 17 Xfinity team this weekend. Ives was Bowman's crew chief in Cup from 2018-23. They celebrated seven wins together, including four during the 2021 season.

Ives has already celebrated two Xfinity wins this season while guiding the No. 17 team. Kyle Larson won at Circuit of the Americas and then Chase Elliott won at Charlotte Motor Speedway.