CONCORD, N.C. -- Alex Bowman earned his first win of the season and Hendrick Motorsports' third overall victory in 2021 after he took the checkered flag at Richmond Raceway on Sunday.
A late-race caution allowed Bowman to restart third with less than 20 laps left. The 27-year-old driver quickly maneuvered around the front two drivers and maintained the lead for the final 10 laps to win Hendrick Motorsports' first race at Richmond since 2008. The last Hendrick Motorsports driver to win at the Virginia track was none other than former No. 48 driver Jimmie Johnson.
“We just had a great race car; it’s as simple as that," Bowman said. "(Crew chief) Greg Ives and all the guys, they have to deal with me at short tracks and I drive these places really wrong. Instead of trying to make me figure it out, we went to work on getting the race car where I needed it to be. Greg has done such an amazing job at making that happen.”
With the win, primary sponsor Ally will donate $10,000 to the Richmond SPCA. This year, Bowman and Ally started working with nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society, which aims to cease kill shelters by 2025. On top of the $10,000 donation, Bowman will donate $1,000 to the shelter, as well.
Teammate William Byron earned his seventh top-10 finish in a row after he placed seventh. Chase Elliott followed with an 12th-place finish and Kyle Larson ended the race in 18th place.
Take a look below to see how the race unfolded for the Hendrick Motorsports drivers at Richmond Raceway.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Larson rolled off the grid sixth for the ninth race of the season. He was seventh several laps into the race and remained in that position when the competition yellow waved.
- Larson pitted and returned to the track 18th after taking a longer pit stop to make some adjustments. He slipped down the leaderboard as the stage wound down and finished the first segment 23rd.
- Larson restarted 20th and edged to 18th by Lap 95. He was 17th 20 laps later and was down to 23rd when a caution dropped from an accident.
- The driver of the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE restarted 21st and a lap down. He pitted with the majority of the field and was 25th by Lap 191. Larson crossed the finish line 23rd for the end of Stage 2.
- He was 25th when Stage 3 began. Larson quickly moved to 23rd and hovered around that position throughout the majority of the stage after Larson said the drive-off was rough on his Chevrolet. He started picking off the field in the final laps and ended the race 18th.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Elliott led his Hendrick Motorsports teammates at Richmond with a third-place start. He dropped to fifth by Lap 10 and was in that position for the competition caution.
- Elliott was fifth again on the restart but lost a spot by Lap 40. He dropped further to ninth by Lap 55 and was passed by teammate Alex Bowman with less than 20 laps left in the first stage. He finished the segment in 17th place.
- Elliott was still 17th for the start of Stage 2. He worked his way to 15th 30 laps later and was up to 11th by Lap 136. He pitted and was 18th when a yellow flag came out a short time later.
- After the restart, Elliott dropped to 19 but started to slowly work his way up the field during the second half of Stage 2. He was 16th by Lap 180 and pitted a couple of laps later, coming back out in 24th place. He worked his way through traffic and was 12th by the end of Stage 2.
- Elliott restarted Stage 3 in 11th place. He was passed by teammate Alex Bowman for that position and spent the last half of Stage 3 bobbing between 11th and 12th, eventually finishing 12th.
WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Byron rolled off the grid next to teammate Chase Elliott in fourth place. He dropped to ninth within the first eight laps and was 10th at the competition caution after 30 laps.
- Byron restarted seventh and jumped to fourth by Lap 41. He maintained that position until the first stage ended on Lap 80. The 23-year-old driver started the second stage in the same position. He slipped to sixth after teammate Alex Bowman passed him on Lap 94.
- Nearly 35 laps later, cars started to pit under green and Byron stayed out, moving up to second. He pitted a short time later and was 13th when he came back out.
- Byron bobbed between 12th, 13th and 14th throughout the second half of Stage 2. He pitted during lap 182 and was 13th coming back out. Byron broke into the top 10 toward the end of the stage and eventually placed eighth.
- For the start of Stage 3, Byron was sixth. He quickly dropped to eighth and fell to ninth with 125 laps left in the race but gained a couple of spots after a round of pit stops with 105 laps to go.
- With 65 laps left, teammate Alex Bowman passed Byron for sixth place. Byron pitted seven laps later and was seventh after the field cycled over. He soon broke into the top five but slipped down to eighth by Lap 375.
- A late-race caution allowed Byron to jump to sixth for the restart. He slipped to seventh with six to go and maintained that position for the rest of the race to take home his seventh top-10 finish in a row.
ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CHEVROLET CAMARO ZL1 1LE
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Bowman began the race 24th and was up to 17th by the competition caution. He edged to 15th when the field went green and was 14th 45 laps into the race. He broke into the top 10 with less than 20 laps left in the first stage and was seventh when the stage ended.
- Bowman started Stage 2 in seventh and worked his way to fourth by Lap 98. He pitted 40 laps later and returned to the track ninth. A short time later, Bowman was 10th when a caution came out. He restarted fourth and dropped to seventh by Lap 157.
- He was in sixth by Lap 175 and pitted under green with 50 laps left in the stage. Bowman was ninth three laps later and jumped back to sixth several laps afterward. He edged back to fourth and held that spot until the end of Stage 2.
- Bowman was hit with a penalty for an uncontrolled tire and had to restart Stage 3 12th. After a round of pit stops, Bowman was eighth. He jumped to seventh with 101 laps to go and made the move to sixth 35 laps later.
- The 27-year-old driver pitted with 58 laps to go and returned to the track I the same position. One lap later, he jumped to fourth and maintained that position until the final 23 laps when he moved to third.
- A caution with 20 to go gave Bowman the chance to pit for fuel and fresh tires. He returned to the track third and battled for second with 12 laps to go. He quickly took over the lead with 10 laps left and widened the gap between the second-place driver.