Tommy Baldwin talks about Bowman incident
Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images
Alex Bowman's No. 7 Chevrolet catches fire at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
With air temperatures rising in the middle of summer, Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Chevy rose up in flames at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Sunday.
While under caution on Lap 97, Alex Bowman pitted for a flat right front tire that was smoking and had caught on fire. The team changed the tire and extinguished the flames and sent the No. 7 back on the track.
But as Bowman pulled out of his stall, the fire reignited and quickly intensified with flames engulfing the front of the car. Bowman stopped at the end of pit road where he climbed out unharmed.
Owner Tommy Baldwin talked about the incident from his vantage point.
“[At] the same time the caution came out, we blew a tire,” he said. “We hobbled along to pit road, and the tire wrapped around the front brake rotor. Caught fire, and burnt a hole in the oil line.
“That’s what caught fire, and I didn’t realize how much damage it did, so when we tried to send [Bowman], the flames came out when he got on the gas and the oil shot out, I immediately stopped him, had him get out of the car.”
Bowman looked frustrated with how the rest of his day was going to shape up, but also in the incompetence of the track safety crew which did not respond as swiftly as he would have liked.
Baldwin said he didn’t pay attention to the time it took the fire crew to get to the No. 7 car, but the priority was to get Bowman out of the flame-engulfed car.
“I didn’t really pay attention to that, to be honest,” he said of the reaction time, adding “I was trying to figure out what went wrong and what happened so when we get it back to the garage, we could fix it right away.”
TBR was in the garage for over 65 laps, and when Bowman returned to the racing surface, he and his team were scored last on the leaderboard.
Bowman ended up hitting the outside wall after the white flag had been thrown, leading NASCAR to display the caution flag. Bowman unofficially finished in the 42nd position.
Moving forward, Baldwin said the team’s short-term goals include running better at the short tracks.
“We’ve been really struggling on the high-braking tracks,” he said. “The big tracks, we’ve been running well, so we’re looking forward to Pocono, Michigan coming up for sure.”