By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
SPARTA, Ky. – A milestone weekend for Alex Bowman ended abruptly after losing a right-front brake rotor. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver was on the bubble to make the Playoffs entering his 100thCup race in the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
109 laps into the race, Bowman’s No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 popped a tire entering turn three. He made hard contact with the wall before immediately darting for pit road. A quick look from the pit crew and it was evident that the damage was terminal, leaving the Hendrick Motorsports driver 39th.
“Hendrick Motorsports builds good safe race cars,” Bowman stated. “My Hendrick carbon seat held up well, everything is good. Unfortunate we blew a tire. Kind of looked like it might have broken a brake rotor before that, but it’s hard to say because you break the brake rotor when you hit the wall anyway, so part of it. We will move on and evaluate what happened. Pretty early to blow a tire.”
Bowman and his crew chief Greg Ives elected to take two tires during the break between stages one and two. The strategy call gave the duo much needed track position. However, on the restart, Bowman quickly dropped outside of the top-10 before the right front brake rotor failed.
The Tucson, AZ native was the only driver that did not have a DNF entering Kentucky. He also had just 19-points over the first driver currently outside of the Playoff field, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Bowman’s incident will tighten the race to make the Playoffs.
“Yeah, we were the last guy that didn’t have any DNF’s we made it one week farther than everybody else,” Bowman said. “But, it’s a bummer, we popped a right front (tire) there. Don’t know if a brake rotor caused that or if we just had a tire go down. It’s unfortunate, but we will move on from it and go to the next one.”