Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Alex Bowman Out Due to Back Injury, Josh Berry to Substitute

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

For the second time this season, a Hendrick Motorsports driver has found himself sidelined with injury and Josh Berry called up to substitute.

Just two weeks removed from Chase Elliott returning from a leg injury while snowboarding, Alex Bowman was involved in a sprint car crash in Iowa on Tuesday night that caused a compression fracture of a vertebrae in his back, which forced Bowman out of the car for the next 3-4 weeks.

Bowman was able to climb from his car under his own power and was checked out at a hospital locally before additional screening back in Charlotte revealed the extent of his injury.

As a result, Berry will take over Bowman’s No. 48 Chevrolet in his absence and run double-duty alongside his NASCAR Xfinity Series duties. Berry put in a stellar effort while substituting for Elliott earlier in the year, posting one top-five and two top-10 finishes in his five-race stint in the Cup Series, including a runner-up finish at Richmond.

“We’re relieved Alex is home, in good spirits and getting world-class treatment,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Giving him ample time and the foremost resources to heal is our top priority. He’s having a tremendous season, and the No. 48 is at the top of its game. We know what Josh is capable of in the race car and that Blake (Harris, crew chief) and the team will continue operating at a high level until Alex is ready to return. He has our full, unequivocal support.”

Bowman is no stranger to having to sit on the sidelines with injury after missing several races last fall after suffering a concussion in a crash at Texas that kept him out of the car for the next five races. He was able to recover in time to return for the season finale at Phoenix.

Given the 3-4 race timeline laid out by Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman is expected to be out of the car this weekend at Dover, along with races at Kansas and Darlington. The North Wilkesboro All-Star Race also falls within that timeframe.

The team announced in their statement that they would request a medical waiver for Bowman to still be eligible for the Playoffs upon his return.

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.