Bowman picks up first top-ten of Sprint Cup career
September 19, 2016
In his 74th series start, Alex Bowman picked up the first top-ten finish of his Sprint Cup career Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway.
Filling in for the third time this season for Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bowman started the race 17th via owner’s points in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400.
Bowman led six laps, his first laps led this season in the No. 88. Before Sunday’s race, he led a total of three laps over his first 73 starts in the series.
Bowman was running 15th before the final caution of the race for Michael McDowell’s Turn 4 accident sent the event into overtime.
Electing for two tires during the final pit stop of the race, Bowman picked up four positions on pit road and restarted 11th on the final restart for the NASCAR Overtime period.
Bowman was tenth at the line for the white flag lap and checkered flag. “It means a lot that Hendrick Motorsports has taken a chance on me and I really appreciate the opportunity to be here and we wish Dale [Earnhardt Jr.] a speedy recovery,” Bowman said. “Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Axalta worked so hard. They brought a great race car.
“We were really good at the start of the race. It didn’t seem to like the initial takeoff, but once we built air pressures it seemed pretty solid. But we were running sixth or eighth there; and then we had two really bad runs and fell back.
“We tried some pit strategy and got pretty good there at the end. [Crew chief] Greg [Ives] made a good call to take two [tires] and recover from those two bad runs we had and get us a solid top-ten.”
Bowman will continue as a fill-in driver for the No. 88 in seven of the final nine races of the season, including next Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.