INDIANAPOLIS – Alex Bowman came home second in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Piloting the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro in an effort to have more seat time at the 14-turn, 2.439-mile track, Bowman claimed the runner-up position to AJ Allmendinger in Saturday’s race.
PHOTOS: See the No. 17 on track at Indianapolis
Bowman started fourth in the 62-lap race. He led four laps on the day and he and crew chief Kevin Meendering used pit strategy to grab the lead twice, only for Allmendinger to take it away after the ensuing restarts on lap 25 and lap 45. The second-place result finish for the No. 17 team was the second in as many starts this season.
"A little tight on the short run and thought I could get him on the long run there," Bowman said of why he couldn't quite track down Allmendinger. "Just kind of ran out of time. Probably was a little too nice on the last restart (on lap 45). I knew he was going to be better than us firing off, but big thanks to everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com and Ally for letting me drive this thing and trying to help me for tomorrow."
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The Indianapolis race was the second of three events for the No. 17 team this season. Kyle Larson was the first to pilot the ride at Road America. He sat on the pole at the Wisconsin road course and finished second in the team’s first start in the series since 2009. William Byron will drive the car at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 20 in the third and final start for the organization this season. Meendering, who is the competition development manager at Hendrick Motorsports, is serving as the team’s crew chief.
"All four of us want to drive this thing," Bowman said of the limited duty No. 17 Xfinity ride. "Who doesn’t want to drive this thing? The 17 is really fast. Big thanks to Mr. Hendrick and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for putting this deal together. It is an absolute rocket. It makes it a lot of fun to come run with this team, Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) and this whole team are a lot of fun to hang out with. Lisa (Smokstad, tire specialist) said I couldn’t finish any worse than second and I had to be smiling and have fun the whole time. I think we had fun and got a top two."
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Bowman’s Xfinity start was his first in four years. The 29-year-old has one win in the series, which came in 2017 in the fall race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The Tucson, Arizona, native has logged extra seat time on road courses in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season with Spire Motorsports. At COTA, he was in the top three on the last lap before he was caught up in an incident on the last lap. In the next day’s NASCAR Cup Series race, he finished second. Bowman also ran the Truck Series event at Sonoma Raceway where he was caught up in a late accident after spending much of the race in the top five. In the Cup Series race at the California road course, the seven-time Cup winner spent a large portion of the race in the top 10 before losing track position while trying to avoid a late-race spin by Kyle Busch.
The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on the Cup Series side will line up 28th for Sunday’s race at the Indianapolis Road Course – the second time the premier series has raced on this layout.
"We obviously struggled really badly today in the Cup car," Bowman said. "Maybe, I learned some things that we’ll help tomorrow. I guess we’ll find out when we get on the race track."
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Hendrick Motorsports has tallied 26 wins in the Xfinity Series with Tony Stewart earning the last win-to-date for the team in 2009 at Daytona International Speedway. The No. 17 car number for the Xfinity races carries special significance to the Hendrick Motorsports family as it was the number that the late Ricky Hendrick drove over two seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series from 2000 to 2001. The paint scheme is based on the truck he drove those seasons, including in his win at Kansas Speedway.
Bowman will be back in the saddle in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Indianapolis Road Course, which airs at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS Radio Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).