Alex Bowman Outduels Kyle Larson At Chicagoland For First Cup Series Winby Camille Jones June 30, 2019 0 comments
JOLIET, Ill. – Alex Bowman earned the first win of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career with a victory in Sunday’s Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Bowman dominated an intense battle with Kyle Larson in the closing laps to go on to secure the win in the rain-delayed event. Larson was able to catch Bowman and clear him for the lead with less than 10 laps remaining, but Bowman wasn’t giving up without a fight. Bowman passed Larson back for the lead with six laps to go and sailed off to win his first race in the series. The driver of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet led 88 laps on his way to Victory Lane for the first time in 134 series starts.
“I mean, it’s all I’ve wanted my whole life,” said Bowman. “I feel like this is a lot of validation for a lot of people that said we couldn’t do this. So proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, Axalta, the Hendrick engine shop. My guys have worked so hard. We struggled so bad last year and the beginning of this year, and man, I had questions if Mr. H was going to let me keep doing this, everybody, all the rumor mills. But to be here winning a race in the Cup Series means so much. Just couldn’t do it without these guys. My pit crew is the best pit crew on pit road, and this is all I’ve ever wanted.”
Bowman had already finished second three times in 2019. He knew he had to get a win to quiet those who doubted him.
“I was just tired of running second,” Bowman said. “I don’t want to do that anymore. I feel like this is the last box, aside from going and chasing a championship, that I needed personally for myself to validate my career. I feel like obviously there’s a lot more left to accomplish, but this is always what I hear is you haven’t won a race. I think even Chad (Knaus, No. 24 car crew chief) said something about me not winning a race, so Chad Knaus, there, we went and did it. Everybody can stop giving me crap; we finally did it.”
Kyle Larson finished in second once again at Chicagoland Speedway. Two years in a row now, Larson has been in a heated race to the finish and was forced to settle for the runner-up position.
“Was actually surprised I even got to him,” Larson said. “I thought when he came out about the same distance off pit road in front of me, I thought he was just going to check out. But like I said, he was struggling, and we were able to get to him and get by him, but he did a good job. He did a good job regrouping and figuring out how to make his car drive better and got the win. Cool to see him get the win there. Would have liked for him to have to wait another week or so, but happy for him. He’s an open‑wheel guy, so cool to see”
Joey Logano earned the third-place finish on Sunday after racing hard with Larson for much of the final stage of the race. Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five in the race, while Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon completed the top-10 in the finishing order.
In Sunday’s race, there were five cautions for a total of 25 laps under yellow. This included a red flag for over three hours due to heavy rain and lightning. A wild storm blew through the area just 12 laps into the event, dramatically tossing equipment and tearing down pit boxes in the process. Once the storm cleared, track drying followed and the race was able to restart and run to the finish.
Joey Logano now leads the points standings by 18 points over Kyle Busch.
Next weekend, the drivers of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will take on the high-banked Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday July 6. Live coverage will be found on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
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