CONCORD, N.C. - After a four-week absence from the NASCAR Cup Series due to fractured vertebra, Alex Bowman returned to action at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bowman's 12th-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 saw the 30-year-old driver grind through 400 laps. Over the course of the race, he battled a tight race car and had a lack of rear security in the No. 48 Ally Patriotic Chevy. With the qualifying being canceled due to inclement weather, the metric set his starting position of 31st. As a result, the team didn't have a great pit stall selection and navigating in and out of the box was a challenge at times.
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The end result, though, was a sign that Bowman and crew chief Blake Harris should have no trouble picking up where the pairing left off before the driver's injury. In the first 10 races of 2023, the Tucson, Arizona, native had three top-five finishes and six top-10s. His 10.45 average finish is the best in the series.
"It doesn’t feel very good at the moment, but about what I was expecting," Bowman said of his back following the race. "There was no pain in the car really, but now that I’m out, I feel it a little bit.
"Just proud of my No. 48 Ally Chevy team. We had a really fast long run car. Obviously, the short runs were what we needed, but we were just too tight for that. We got stuck on pit road – every stop, we came in like 10th, but lost spots coming out. That wasn’t on my guys, it was just pit stall selection. We’ll move onto St. Louis. Hopefully we’ll get to qualify there, have a good pit box and just go have a normal day."
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Following Monday's race, Bowman is now four points above the provisional playoff cutline, sitting 16th in the point standings. He has received a waiver that keeps him eligible to qualify for the playoffs.
The next event on the Cup Series schedule will take place at WWT Raceway, marking the 15th points-paying event of the season. In last year's inaugural premier series race at the 1.25-mile track outside of St. Louis, Bowman finished 13th. Tune in to watch the action on Sunday, June 4, at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Channel 90).