Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

‘Talladega Happens’: Bowman’s Block Sets Off Chain Reaction Crash

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

Alex Bowman found himself on an island as he was the lone Chevrolet in the lead with an onslaught of Fords behind him heading down the backstretch on lap 106.

With Joey Logano leading the Blue Oval brigade and closing in on the Hendrick Motorsports entry in a hurry, Bowman moved down the track to try and halt the momentum of Logano and the others, but the closing rate was too much to overcome.

As soon as Logano made contact with Bowman’s rear bumper, it was all over for the driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet, as he lost control and turned sideways, sliding back up the track in front of the field, collecting 10 cars in the process – the majority of them being Chevrolets.

After being evaluated and released from the infield care center, Bowman took responsibility for the crash, citing his block as the reason for the incident.

“I haven’t completely seen the replay. But my guess is that I threw a block I shouldn’t have thrown a block,” Bowman said “I got shoved way out there. I knew the No. 22 (Joey Logano) was coming and I just tried to move down just a little bit. As soon as he touched me, it just turned it sideways. They just had a bigger run than I realized. I should have let them go and shouldn’t have thrown a block. I apologize to all the cars that got torn up, that’s on me.”

Bowman’s spotter, Kevin Hamlin, also owned up to his part in the crash, noting the blame should fall on him and not his driver. However, Bowman was quick to turn the spotlight back on himself, taking full accountability for the incident.

Along with Bowman, fellow Chevrolet drivers Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson got the worst of the crash, with heavy damage ending the day early for all three drivers.

“I just saw a little bit of smoke,” Larson said of the crash. “I was in the top lane just hoping to get through it and it all happened quick. I saw the No. 88 (Alex Bowman)’s door numbers and I got into it. Yeah, that was a huge hit on my part.

“Thankfully, I’m OK and we’ll move onto next week and try to get a run at Kansas.”

Johnson said much of the same, chalking the crash up to typical superspeedway racing.

“That’s just plate racing. It is what it is,” Johnson said. “I saw the No. 88 (Alex Bowman) really far down on the apron coming into turn three, and knew there was going to be a problem when he merged up back in front of us. It is just plate racing.”

Among the trio, Bowman was the driver with the biggest playoff implications as Larson has already advanced into the next round and Johnson didn’t make the playoffs.

Despite his day being done, Bowman’s playoff future fluctuated around the cut-off line for the remainder of the race. At one point, Bowman went from more than 20 points out to being more than 10 points in before finally settling into ninth-place in points heading to the elimination race at Kansas next weekend with an 18-point deficit to overcome.

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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.