Q&A: NASCAR driver Alex Bowman wins humanitarian award

Alex Bowman, Halifax Humane Society of the Year 2022, hangs out with Finn (charcoal Labrador retriever, center) and Roscoe (beagle mix).

Alex Bowman, Halifax Humane Society of the Year 2022, hangs out with Finn (charcoal Labrador retriever, center) and Roscoe (beagle mix).

Courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

Alex Bowman met Roscoe when he was just 19 years old.

Veteran NASCAR Cup Series Qualifier driver still has Roscoe after more than 10 years—and this rescued beagle mix has unexpectedly changed Bowman’s life.

Bowman is named after Halifax Animal Welfare Society Humanity of the Year, an achievement that reflects all that a NASCAR driver has done to help support animal shelters and other similar organizations across the country. The 48th Chevrolet driver will officially receive the award at the 11th annual FurBall Gala in Daytona Beach in December.

Bowman received the award for his great fundraising efforts and generous donations. with help Best Friends of Animal Society And its main sponsor, Ally, Bowman makes a donation to a Best Friends Network partner in every market the NASCAR Cup Series travels to.

This season, according to a release from Hendrick Motorsports, Ally and Bowman donate $4,800 per week, with that total increasing to $10,000 for every win they earn. (The driver has won the qualifier twice this year with six Cup races remaining in the 2022 schedule.)

In an interview with Alex Zietlow of The Charlotte Observer, Bowman discusses life with Roscoe, one of the biggest problems facing homeless dogs today and more. Below is a portion of the interview, edited for clarity and brevity.

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Alex Bowman walks out of his garage before qualifying for seventh for the NASCAR Cup Series car race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Charlotte, NC (AP Photo/Ben Gray) Ben Gray AP

Bowman: Taking care of homeless animals strikes near the house

Zitlo: You will be racing in Talladega on Sunday. With Hurricane Ian making landfall, concerned any dogs or pets will be affected by the storms?

Bowman: I think any such storms usually create a lot of problems for pets. Anytime people have to evacuate, sometimes people just can’t bring their pets, and that’s really scary and causes a lot of bad things. So I hope all the pets stay safe, and I definitely think it’s inconvenient for me, as I saw a hurricane heading toward North Carolina and had to leave town and not be with the dogs. So I can’t imagine what people are going through in Florida and everywhere that has already been bombed.

Zitlo: I don’t mean for you to repeat something I’ve said 100 times. But would you mind telling me the story of how you got involved with the Halifax Humane Society, where you got your love for dogs, that whole story?

Bowman: It all certainly stems from a rescue dog, Roscoe. I got Roscoe randomly when I was 19 years old. There was a shelter very close to the race shop of the team I was driving for at the time. A couple from the team and I went there, not planning to buy a dog, however I left with a dog.

So it was definitely unexpected. Roscoe, it’s a handful (laughs), so I guess that’s kind of the reason why for me. When I started working with Ally last year, they asked me what is important to you and what causes do you want to support? And being able to support homeless pets was definitely a big thing for me. I would never have thought that we could have put together the amount of money we raised and all the things we did.

I feel like Ally and the team at Hendrick Motorsports, and kind of everyone involved in it (including) best friends – there are a lot of people who put more work into it than I did personally. I was just a face to her. And collecting that money and getting this prize is crazy to me. But it was wonderful, definitely meaningful, and hits close to home for me.

Zitlo: Can you explain how to get home to you?

Bowman: Having a rescue dog, not knowing what Roscoe’s past really is, sort of knowing what difficulties I’m having with him and what he might have gone through and what other animals have gone through – I’ve been to a lot of animal shelters in the last couple of years and have experienced some issues.

COVID obviously created a huge problem, a lot of people adopted the animals, and a lot of people brought the animals back when COVID ended. It made the problems that were already there even bigger. So it was difficult. Which is just something I’m really excited about. Sometimes I feel like “dogs above people” (laughs).

Zitlo: Did you grow up with a dog in your home?

Bowman: Yes, I was raised dogs. But I feel this is always different. Like if you’re supposed to feed them, take care of them, or clean their poo in the backyard (laughs), or whatever your chores are. But this is very different from being an adult and being the one in charge of the animals. My bond with my two dogs, Roscoe and Finn (Labrador Retriever), is obviously very different from what it was when I was a kid with my dog ​​in the house.

But I think it started on a whole different level, though, than you actually were when you were in charge of them.

Zitlo: There are a lot of virtuous things that people can devote their time to. You work in a field and in an industry that is particularly demanding of your time. What makes working with dogs in this way so special to you?

Bowman: For me, it’s like what I said earlier, it’s the closest thing to home for me. Obviously, having a rescue dog is, you know, just being around that and kind of knowing what they’re going through and seeing the problem — for some reason, it’s just something that I stuck with.

I’d like to sit here and say I did some crazy hard work and did this and that, but honestly I just went to some shelter and was able to make money from t-shirt sales and a few other things. You know, I’ve partnered with Ally to donate $4,800 a week to local shelters for whatever market we’re racing in. We donated a lot of money and raised a lot of money. It wasn’t very difficult. It was just a normal fit and it was fun to do. And the work we did and the shelter visits and all that was normal and fun. So it was really cool.

Profile photo of Alex Zietlow

Alex Zietlow writes about NASCAR, Charlotte FC, and the ways sports intersect with life in the Charlotte area for The Observer, where he has been a reporter since August 2022. Zietlow’s work has been honored by the NC and SC Press Association, also as an APSE, which gave him a Top 10 Ranks in the Beat Writing and Short Feature categories in the 2021 Writing Contest. Previously wrote for The Herald in Rock Hill from 2019 to 22.

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