WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Alex Bowman recovered from a late-race spin to score a top-10 finish in an overtime finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen International on Saturday afternoon.
For much of the race, Bowman ran in the top five, but it didn’t start that way. After qualifying second, the 30-year-old driver started from the rear of the field for an unapproved adjustment – a brake rotor repair. He worked his way into the top 15 and pitted as stage one was coming to an end. A caution on lap 22 positioned Bowman to regain all his track position and he took over the lead.
PHOTOS: See the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevy on track at Watkins Glen
After leading four laps under caution, Bowman lost the lead on the restart to Ty Gibbs. The Hendrick Motorsports driver went on to finish stage two in second. As the final stage unfolded, he maintained a spot in the top three before contact from Cole Custer saw the No. 17 HendrickCars.com Chevy spin in turn one. That dropped Bowman from third to fifth. When the caution fell on lap 77, crew chief Greg Ives brought his driver down pit road from fourth for four tires and fuel.
With four to go in regulation, Bowman restarted 11th but was caught up in an incident in turn five that brought out the caution on lap 80. The Tucson, Arizona, native pitted for service and restarted from 20th for the overtime finish. Over the final two laps, Bowman drove up into the top 10 to earn a ninth-place result at the 2.45-mile road course.
Sam Mayer, who drives for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports, won the race to give the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop its 497th national series victory in NASCAR.
Bowman was the last of the four NASCAR Cup Series regulars for Hendrick Motorsports to drive the team’s Xfinity entry in 2023. Thus far, the No. 17 HendrickCars.com entry has come oh-so-close to victory lane. William Byron ran to a runner-up finish at Circuit of The Americas in March, Kyle Larson finished third at Sonoma Raceway in June and Chase Elliott came home third at Pocono Raceway in July. Larson is set to make the fifth and final start for the No. 17 entry next month at Darlington Raceway.
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The No. 17 car number carries a rich history and special significance to the organization. NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip drove it to nine Cup Series wins for the team from 1987 to 1990, including in the 1989 DAYTONA 500. The car number was also driven by Ricky Hendrick in various races, including in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series in 2000 and 2001. This year, the HendrickCars.com paint scheme is again based on the No. 17 truck driven by Hendrick during his 2001 rookie season.
In its history, Hendrick Motorsports has won one Xfinity Series championship and earned 26 wins in the series. The organization's four races in 2022 marked its first action in the series since 2009 when Tony Stewart took home the checkered flag at Daytona International Speedway. In its eight combined races in the series in 2022 and 2023, the No. 17 team has three poles, three runner-up finishes, six top-fives, seven top-10s and 138 laps led.