CONCORD, N.C. – In just his ninth start in the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, Alex Bowman returned to victory lane in Sunday’s event at Richmond Raceway, becoming the second driver to win for the No. 48 team.
"I feel like our notes, knowing we improved last year and what direction we need to go, really paid off,” Bowman said. “(Crew chief) Greg (Ives) and (engineer) Tim (O’Brien) and the guys do a really good job at dialing us in. We had a heck of a long-run car all day so when those guys would fall off, it made passing pretty easy. There at the end we switched it up and had a great short run.”
Bowman secured the checkered flag for the first time this season in a late-race effort, pushing into the lead on Lap 391 and never looking back. The 27-year-old driver started the final stage at the .75-mile track in 12th after receiving an uncontrolled tire penalty during a pit stop in between Stages 2 and 3. Bowman fought his way back through the field, sitting third with 23 laps to go. Pitting under caution, the No.48 team made a few small adjustments, giving Bowman the edge he needed to make a run for the win.
“I was just surprised the car had as much grip as it did,” Bowman said. “I feel like we struggled on the short runs quite a bit all day and were able to make great changes on that pit stop that gave me what I needed to pick those guys off in front of me.
The win in Richmond is the first points-paying NASCR Cup Series victory for Ally as the primary sponsor for the No. 48 team. Bowman took the reins of the No. 48 team after seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson retired from NASCAR at the end of the 2020 season.
“It’s really cool to get Ally a win. It’s been a long time coming to get the No. 48 car back where it deserves to be,” Bowman said. “It’s pretty phenomenal. (I’m) surprised to do it at a place like Richmond but so cool to get them their first win.”
Bowman is now the third Hendrick Motorsports driver to win in the 2021 season. William Byron won at Homestead-Miami Speedway in February and Kyle Larson crossed the finish line first one week later in Las Vegas.
“I think all of Hendrick Motorsports has been strong this year,” Bowman said. “I think it won’t be that long until all four of us have won, so it’s really cool to be a part of it. I think the four of us are working really well together, (our) four crew chiefs are super sharp … I’m glad it’s all showing and paying off. All the guys back at the shop are working their butts off and building some really fast race cars.”