By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Alex Bowman, filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. who is still recovering from concussion symptoms, certainly opened some eyes during his stint behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Bowman started a career-best sixth after qualifying for the Pure Michigan 400 on Friday, and when the race started on Sunday he was in the mix for a win.
Bowman was a solid top-five contender during the early portions of the race, when all of a sudden his car began to drop off the pace on lap 37. Bowman began to report that he had a problem, and after roughly 15 laps of trying to diagnose the issue with his race team, Bowman fell a lap behind race leader Kevin Harvick. It was at this time that Bowman and the No. 88 team decided to pull behind the wall to get the issue straightened out.
As it turned out the ECU (Engine Control Unit) malfunctioned and needed to be rebooted. Once the reboot was completed, Bowman returned to the track four laps down.
Bowman at the mid-way point in the race, sits in the 39th position, but it’s in no way indicative of how he was running in this race.
In his only other Sprint Cup Series start this season, Bowman was running solidly in the top-10 late in the day at New Hampshire when he suffered a cut down tire. Bowman would finish 26th that day.