By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
After a dismal Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race on May 19th, Alex Bowman regained his confidence at Charlotte Motor Speedway, thanks to a ninth-place finish during Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600.
Not only the finish marked Bowman’s fourth top-10 of the season, it was his No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet Camaro pit crew’s performance that’ll be best remembered after several shortcomings of scoring stage points.
Bowman said they were on top of things all night, and brought him confidence after starting deep in the field.
“Yeah, for sure, to qualify 27th and finish ninth it was definitely a good night. I feel like it was way more pit crew than anything,” said Bowman. “My pit crew they killed it on pit road all night. They did a great job and got us a couple of spots on that last green flag stop. Extremely proud of those guys.”
Bowman’s night started off with blistering laps and quickly moved up to the top-20. As the opening stage came down to the wire, Bowman gradually worked his way into the top-10, but was denied a stage point when he took the green-checkered flag in 11th after 100 laps.
The No. 88 team capitalized a shortcoming by getting Bowman out in ninth for stage two. From there, it was sheer consistency for the 25-year-old as he stayed inside the top-10 up until a cycle of green flag stops, where he fell a lap down in 26th. Once it unfolded, he worked his way back on the lead lap and wound up in 15th at halfway.
Stage three proved to be his strongest sequence, as a solid restart got him into the top-10 once again, and at one point was running in fifth. While his pit crew still delivered solid stops, Bowman’s car ran tight and still came up short of scoring stage points after crossing the line in 14th to end stage three.
Another set of pit stops unfolded and his crew delivered another scorcher, getting Bowman out in ninth for the last stage. He would stay inside the top-10 throughout the stage, and successfully scored his first Cup top-10 at Charlotte.
Bowman added he was pleased with crew chief Greg Ives’ calls, and hopes for a better performance when the Cup Series heads back to Charlotte on September 30th for the first-ever “Roval” race.
“Greg made good calls from on top of the box and our car was much better than it had been all week. Happy for that,” said Bowman. “I really like this place, so hopefully when… well I guess we are coming back to the Roval, so it doesn’t really matter, but hopefully next year we run a little better here.”