SONOMA, Calif. – The first road-course race of the NASCAR Cup Series season is now in the books. For Hendrick Motorsports teammates, the race proved to be filled with an array of twists and turns – literally.
After starting Sunday’s race in 12th, Alex Bowman used pit strategy in hopes of gaining valuable stage points. Remaining on the track while several competitors headed to pit road proved to be successful when he finished Stage 1 in seventh to earn four extra points.
Late in the race, he was able to move inside the top 10 in the final segment. It looked promising that Bowman would finish in the top 10 if not the top five as he reached seventh place with just 20 laps to go.
But as the final laps commenced, Bowman fell back in the pack for a 14th-place finish.
“We were sitting pretty good there toward the end and then we lost power steering,” the driver explained. “I hate losing spots like that at the end, but I’m glad we still brought home a top-15 finish.”
Bowman credited No. 88 team crew chief Greg Ives and the pit crew for helping him advance throughout the race thanks to strategy and quick pit stops.
“We lost some front turn from where we were at in practice,” Bowman said. “Track position was really key. Obviously, we didn’t qualify very well, so that hurt us. We had great pit stops.”
Following his top-15 finish, Bowman shared that it was a taxing race that proved to be physically demanding.
“I’m glad I’ve been working on being more fit because I’m worn out and that would have been way worse,” the driver said.
Heading into this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway, where Bowman has two top-10 finishes, he believes the momentum from last week will continue.
“We’ll move on to Chicago next week,” he said. “We should be phenomenal there. My guys did a really good job. My car was really fast, we just missed it a little bit there for the race.”