Alex Bowman’s million-dollar test car crash not catastrophic

Photo by Jerry Jordan/Kickin' the Tires

By Jerry Jordan, Editor
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – For Alex Bowman NASCAR has a funny way of picking drivers up and also bringing them back down to reality, with him saying he was stoked after his Xfinity Series win at Charlotte Motor Speedway but when a million-dollar test car wheel-hopped into the wall at Martinsville Speedway, on Tuesday, he was bummed.

Bowman likes doing tests for Chevrolet but shortly after the wreck, he said he was embarrassed because he never expected to the lose control of the car he’d turned hundreds of laps in throughout his career. Luckily, only one of the expensive sensors on the wheel-force test car met its demise. Yes, he wrecked the car but, no, he didn’t destroy it as some on social media took the original Tweet from Kickin’ the Tires to mean.

“This sport has got a funny way to humble you,” he told Kickin’ the Tires. “You know, winning Saturday night and, shoot, this morning we were in the wheel-force car and we were fastest out of all the regular racecars. I mean, it’s 100-pounds heavier than everybody else here, it’s got hanging all off the side of it and we turned the fastest laps this morning. So, that was cool and then to turn around this afternoon and do that, I feel pretty, umm, pretty dumb but stuff happens.

“I enjoy the testing and it has definitely kept me sharp. I haven’t been here in a couple of years so I am glad to be back here testing and I’ll definitely learn from my mistakes.”

To hear Bowman tell the story, he was heading down the front stretch and as he got on the brakes to enter Turn 1, the car began to hop and it turned around on him. The wheel-force test car has arms that protrude from the wheel with extremely expensive sensors attached, so crashing it can be a financial nightmare. Asked if his first year’s payroll from driving the No. 88 car in 2018 would be encumbered by Chevrolet to pay for the damage, Bowman laughed and said, “No, no, so we are good there” adding that he got “lucky.”

“That part, I don’t think we got too bad, we didn’t hit the wheel itself, so got lucky there,” Bowman said. “It definitely sucks but unfortunately we just got some wheel hop on entry there and couldn’t hold onto it. We’ve been really tight in all day. I am not sure why we got some wheel hop there. We had a little bit of brake issues going on and that might have caused it, it might not have. Luckily, as far as the wheel-force transducers go, we knocked one sensor off the left rear. The arm is good, the wheel is good, all of the million-dollar sensors are good. I am sure it is not cheap but it is not the crazy-expensive stuff. But stuff happens and I hate it for these guys.”

The Chevrolet crew had the car repaired Tuesday afternoon and Bowman was back out on the track Wednesday – turning 43 laps by the noon break. The next test for Bowman is in two weeks (October 24) ahead of the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It is open to the public and is expected feature one car from each NASCAR Cup Series team.

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