CONCORD, N.C. -- Alex Bowman made an unprecedented 16 trips down pit road Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway after he was caught up in an early accident that caused heavy damage to the front of his No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.
Bowman capitalized on the 13 cautions from the race – a Talladega record – to improve the handling of his machine. While he was regulated to a 14th-place finish, Bowman knows he could have been knocked out of the race entirely and have had his playoff aspirations in jeopardy.
“This group of guys worked their butts off on pit road – very thankful for their hard work,” Bowman said. “Our Truck Hero Camaro, with Patriot Foundation on the side of it, was not really where we wanted it be to start the race. We made some changes, got it better and then I became a Ford sandwich there getting off Turn 2.”
Since the No. 88 pit crew was able to help keep Bowman in the race, he moved up a spot to seventh in the playoff rankings. Several other drivers in the playoffs were unable to finish the race, putting Bowman in a breathable position heading into the final race of the Round of 12 at the Charlotte roval.
“It was a really long day. A lot of trips down pit road and we crashed like three times after that,” Bowman said. “Just tried to stay out of the crashes and kept getting caught up in more of them. I’m just glad we finished. We have a little bit of a buffer. We’re going into a little bit of a wild card race but should have a good week ahead of us.”
Overall, Bowman sits 22 points above the playoff bubble and is one point ahead of the eighth-place driver. Now the 27-year-old Tucson, Arizona, native will turn his focus to the road course at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowman finished second at the course last year and fourth in 2018, but teammate Chase Elliott now has become the driver to beat in road-course action.
“He’s got it so dialed in,” Bowman said of Elliott’s road-course success. “They can give me all the same stuff that he has, take identical race cars, and he can still make it go a little faster. I’ve got my work cut out for me to try to match that and get as good as Chase is at that place. But I feel like we’re right behind him there and we can do a really good job there, as well.”