CONCORD, N.C. -- Greg Ives couldn’t help but be a little disappointed with how Sunday’s race at Darlington panned out. Alex Bowman’s crew chief said he knows a sixth-place finish in a playoff race isn’t something to be sad about, but two issues on pit road toward the end of Stage 2 forced Bowman to overcome a 17th-place restart.
"We had ourselves in position in the top five in a lot of scenarios and we had one pit stop where the rear gun lost RPM from the hose getting kinked," Ives said on SiriusXM. "The changer did a great job of making sure he got all the left-rear lugnuts tight versus just sending him (off) … but we lost five or six spots there.
"Another stop we had issues with the right-side jack. Just a couple of mechanical issues … those cost us a lot of spots."
Even though Bowman didn’t place as high as he and the No. 88 team wanted, he now is sitting in fifth in the playoff standings as the Cup Series field gets ready for the second playoff race at Richmond.
However, Ives knows better than to get complacent – Bowman’s best finish at the track was 12th in 2018 and Ives said the team was working out which strategies might work best at the Virginia venue.
"You’re always trying to understand where we need to be," Ives said of racing at Richmond. "It’s such a tough and unique racetrack with the falloff you have, the speed that you carry into Turn 1, the speed that you can’t carry into Turn 3 and off of 4. It’s such a tough track and it’s something we haven’t had a handle on. We’ll get there and it’ll be ready to go when we drop the flag on Saturday."
Richmond also is brutal track when it comes to tires. Like at Darlington, Ives said drivers must almost always take four tires and not make any critical mistakes on pit road. He added that how the 88 team does at Richmond will reveal how its short-track program worked out this season and could determine their outcome heading into the Round of 12.
"You create your own destiny in this sport, whether it’s by points or winning or just having a mistake and going backward," Ives said. "We’re hoping to go out (to Richmond) and be clean. I know if do that and come out with a solid finish … I think we will be in a solid place at Bristol and making it to that next round."