Saturday afternoon, the NASCAR Cup Series will kick off a doubleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway. This marks the third time in 2020 that the drivers have raced on consecutive days due to the coronavirus. However, Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman believes that the two races at Dover present the biggest challenge of the doubleheader schedule.
Speaking exclusively with PopCulture.com, Bowman previewed the upcoming races at Dover. He explained that the track provides a major challenge and that the drivers have to prepare properly. Simply heading to the track is not an option. Bowman and his peers have to prepare for a grueling weekend that will test them both physically and mentally.
"I feel like Dover is probably going to be the hardest doubleheader — that's a really physical racetrack," Bowman told PopCulture. "So physically, I think you're going to have some guys that are really exhausted and it's going to be a really long day on Sunday just with already being worn out from Saturday. So just trying to stay hydrated and maximize your recovery time between the two races is going to be really crucial. It's probably going to be pretty hot. So I'm just trying to be prepared for the heat and recover as much as you can between the two races."
The heat has been a major factor in races throughout the coronavirus-altered schedule. The Cup Series drivers are racing at tracks that they generally avoid during the summer. The result of the schedule change is that Bowman and his peers are dealing with heat-related risks. Some drivers even pass out after exiting their stock cars, as Bubba Wallace did after a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
While the heat will potentially create problems for Bowman and his peers, it is not the only challenge they will face over the two-day period. Dover also tests the drivers' bodies and puts considerable strain on them. Specifically, Bowman says that the course is very hard on the upper body.
"Dover is just really high G forces and kind of loads your body in different ways," Bowman explained. "So I think it's harder on your shoulders and your neck then a lot of the other racetracks are, so just being prepared for that. And then really, I think the biggest thing this summer, this entire summer, we've been going to a lot of racetracks that we typically don't go to in the summer that are really, really hot. So I'm trying to just train in the heat more than training inside with the air conditioning on. I think that's been a big benefit, and just trying to be prepared for the heat."
Bowman will put his readiness on display when the NASCAR Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway in Delaware. The action starts Saturday with the Drydene 311 at 4 p.m. ET and it continues on Sunday with a second race. Whether or not Bowman achieves victory or finishes among the top five is yet to be seen, but he is ready to face the challenges at nearly 200 mph.