DARLINGTON, S.C. – Alex Bowman updated reporters Sunday at Darlington Raceway to offer an update on his recovery from a fractured vertebra.
The driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 has no timetable to return, but he has a doctor’s appointment this week where he will undergo scans to see how he is healing. The 30-year-old was injured in a sprint car event last month at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa.
"Super fortunate that the injury wasn’t any worse than it was," Bowman said. "I’ll heal up and come back when I can."
Bowman described how he has been feeling and the activities he has been able to do.
"The most painful thing for me is laughing, coughing, sneezing or trying to sleep. Laying down hurts pretty bad. Standing up, walking around is not so bad. I’ve been able to walk the whole time. I have kept myself busy. This week, I was able to go back in the gym a little bit, which was good, because not working out for a couple of weeks is the worst thing in the world for me."
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Sunday’s race marked the third race that the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series winner has missed since the injury. Bowman took ownership of the time away, while acknowledging the support of his race team and partners.
"It was my choice to go sprint car racing and I knew what I was signing up for," Bowman said. "It really sucks being out of the race car. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has been super supportive as well as everybody from Ally."
Team owner Rick Hendrick discussed Bowman's next steps in a post-race press conference following William Byron's win at Darlington. It is important to Hendrick to think about the long haul of the season and not rush his driver back.
"If you come back too early, it can mess you up for the whole year," Hendrick said. "I want him to be right. He’s listening to the doctors. He has started working out. I think it’s a good shot he’ll be back pretty quick. But we haven’t done the test in the car with the straps on him and harnesses and see if he has any pain."
Despite being out of the race car, Bowman has stayed connected with the team, encouraging his fill-in driver, Josh Berry. Earlier this month, the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports earned a top-10 finish for the team at Dover Motor Speedway.
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Bowman's injury occurred when he was having the best start of a season in his Cup Series career. In the first 10 races of 2023, the Tucson, Arizona, native had three top-five finishes, six top-10s and a series-best 10.30 average finish. Before the race at Darlington got underway, he was 15th in the point standings. Hendrick Motorsports has applied to NASCAR for a medical waiver that will allow Bowman to remain eligible for the 2023 playoffs.
"We are still in the playoffs right now on points as we sit," Bowman said. "I think it is something we can overcome. You look at what Kyle Busch has done and what other guys have done post-injury. It’s not where I want to be, especially with the season we were having, but I know we can be as strong as we were when I come back."