For the second week in a row, Noah Gragson will drive Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in place of Alex Bowman.
The team announced Bowman was evaluated by physicians Tuesday afternoon. However, due to lingering concussion symptoms, he was not cleared to run the October 9 NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
Bowman was also not cleared to run the October 2 Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, following a concussion sustained in the September 25 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Jeff Andrews, the president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports made the following statement in the release issued Tuesday evening:
“Alex’s health is our first priority. We’re focused on supporting his recovery and seeing him back in his race car when the time is right. Alex has a long career ahead of him, so we will invest the necessary time and take our guidance from medical experts. We’re putting no pressure on him to return before he’s 100% ready.”
Bowman is the third full-time Cup driver who will miss the October 9 Bank of America Roval 400 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.
J.J. Yeley will fill in for Cody Ware, who is also out due to injuries sustained in a crash during the September 25 race at Texas Motor Speedway.
For the tenth week in a row, Ty Gibbs will fill in for Kurt Busch who is still battling concussion symptoms from a qualifying crash in July at Pocono Raceway.
Bowman will not advance to the Round of 8 in the driver playoffs but the No. 48 team could still advance in the owner playoffs.
The No. 48 team is 12th in owner points, 34 points out of a spot to advance. For the team to advance in the owner playoffs, it is likely Gragson will either need to win or have a strong performance and circumstances fall his way.
Gragson has no Cup road course starts but has 17 top-10 finishes in 20 NASCAR Xfinity Series road course starts. In his first race driving the No. 48, Gragson finished 19th overall after finishing ninth in stage one.