Less than two years out of Ironwood Ridge High School, Alex Bowman is a full-time racer for BK Racing on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Courtesy of Alex Bowman

In July of 2012, Alex Bowman was fresh out of Ironwood Ridge High School, bunking three-to-a-room in an economy hotel for the Prairie Meadows 200 auto race in Newton, Iowa.

Now he’s sitting in car No. 23 on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, fully sponsored, awaiting a 40-race season in which he is scheduled to race at Talladega, Watkins Glen, Daytona and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Sometimes it’s like a fantasy to me,” says his father, Sean Bowman, who operates a collision-repair business in Tucson. “We could never have thought he’d be there this soon.”

Bowman will drive the No.  23 car for BK Racing, which recently added new sponsor Dr Pepper in a lucrative deal. He will be one

of seven rookies on the

NASCAR circuit, which opens Feb. 15 at Daytona.

“When Alex was racing quarter-midgets a few years ago, he’d go to NASCAR races when we’d get access and was a huge fan of Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin,” Sean Bowman says. “Now he’s going to race against those guys every week. It’s hard to put your arms around.”

Bowman’s ascent in auto racing has been astonishing. Two years ago, he was Rookie of the Year on the ARCA circuit, racing in the Southern Illinois 100 at the DuQuoin Fairgrounds. A year ago

he was 11th overall on the

NASCAR Nationwide circuit.

Now he’s part of what is probably a $10 million-a-year investment by BK Racing, a deal that was in the works for three months.

“The bottom line here is that BK wants to improve their team, and they think Alex has a good future,” Sean Bowman says. “It’s a lot of money. It’s the chance of a lifetime.”

Contact sports columnist Greg Hansen at ghansen@azstarnet.com or

573-4362. On Twitter @ghansen711.

Sports columnist for the Arizona Daily Star.