Bowman Earns Back-to-Back 2nds in 2019

(Photo: Zach Catanzareti/KTT)

By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

For the second straight race in 2019, Alex Bowman was the next best thing behind a race winner.

Losing out to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott last week at Talladega, the No. 88 Chevrolet backed up the result with another runner-up place this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

“Today was a lot of fun,” Bowman said. “To have some momentum on your side is always a good thing. Aside from that, it’s two completely different tracks. But we definitely had momentum.”

The race, however, did not start as hot as Bowman and the HMS crew had hoped.

Qualifying fifth for Monday’s Gander RV 400, Bowman was thrown to the rear of the field after failing prerace inspection two times.

From there, the 26-year-old advanced through the field even in the toughest conditions in terms of passing and competition.

“We qualified well and then we ended up starting in the back. We got kicked a bit there,” he said. “[It’s] something we can definitely build on.”

Jumping to the lead for 15 laps on the day, Bowman was pleased to see the top spot after the tailend view off the start.

“To come from the back and run second is pretty cool,” he said. “We led a lot of laps a couple years ago. This is probably one of the best racecars I’ve had in a long time. Really good excecution all day aside from the one restart.”

The one who stood between Bowman and a first Cup win was Martin Truex Jr., who beat Bowman to the checkered flag by nearly 10 seconds. A long 131-lap green run to the end.

“On new tires, we were probably a little better than him,” he said of Truex. “But it was going to be whoever led on the restart. Clean air today was huge, this plcae is really hard to pass and we’re going so fast now that we just needed some clean air.”

Bowman nearly had a stage win to his name, as he raced Truex and Kevin Harvick hard for the stage two win. Bowman, however, finished second after a close call with a lapped car.

“The No. 43 [Darrell Wallace Jr.] just stayed on the bottom there forever right in front of us,” he said. “I moved up to try and move aorund him on the outside on that last lap and got super loose in. A little unfortunate there but at least we were second. That was better than it could have been.”

With no top 10s in the opening nine races in 2019, Bowman now has back-to-back seconds heading to Kansas next weekend. A big upward step for himself and HMS.

“It was probably the best first half of the race [of my career],” he said. “It’s something I’m pretty proud of. We’re getting there for sure. There are still a lot of places we need to do some work but we’re heading in the right direction.”

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