Alex Bowman scored the best finish of his Cup Series career with a second-place result at Talladega Superspeedway, finishing runner-up to Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.
“Big props to Chevrolet and everybody at Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said after the race. “They brought great race cars here. We had a great Nationwide Chevy from the time we unloaded. We showed a lot of speed. We all stuck to our plans and executed well. Props to everybody back home at Hendrick Motorsports and the fab shop and the engine shop and everybody that makes this deal possible.”
If the caution didn’t come out, were you going to try to make a move on Chase Elliott?
Alex Bowman: “Well, I’m not just going to let him win, right? I’ve got to try. I knew I could get to his quarter panel. I was confident I could get to his quarter panel in the tri-oval and who knows who’s going to get to the line first at that point. I thought I could do it, but it depends on the car behind you and where he goes. It would have been fun to try, but I’m happy for Chase and Nationwide and Axalta and everybody that let’s us keep doing this thing. I’m glad to kind of turn things around. It’s been a rough start to the year and these guys deserve way better than the finishes they’ve had. So, to come home second is not a win, but it’s headed in the right direction.”
With a new rules package for NASCAR Cup Series competitors this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, William Byron qualified the No. 24 Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 in the 25th position for Sunday’s race before linking up with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates and fellow Chevrolet drivers for a strong run within a 500-mile event that had 39 lead changes. Looking to make his way through traffic during the final laps, Byron’s No. 24 Hertz Chevy was caught in an on-track incident on the final lap, leaving him with a 21st-place finish.
During Stage 1 of the race, Byron worked the outside lane, maintaining a position within the top 15 of the running order. At Lap 34, Byron worked through traffic, across all three racing lanes to move up to the sixth position. At the completion of Stage 1 on Lap 55, Byron crossed the start/finish line in the seventh position in the No. 24 Hertz, securing valuable stage points. Under the caution Byron reported to the team that the Hertz Chevy felt good, it just became loose in the corners during long runs.
After a four-tire stop by the No. 24 team, Byron lined up sixth for the start of Stage 2 of the race. On the restart, Byron stayed in the outside lane and followed his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. Within a few laps, the three Hendrick Motorsports contingent had broken away and led the field 1-2-3 as the laps wound down in the second stage. As intensity picked up within the pack, Byron was shuffled back but remained in the top 15. On Lap 82, Byron and the rest of the Chevrolet drivers came to pit road for fuel only stops. Rejoining the field after the pit stop, the No. 24 was back towards the front of the field less than 10 laps later with his two teammates once again. When the green-checkered flag was displayed to signal the end of Stage 2, Byron secured the third position behind his teammates.
With another four-tire stop for the Hertz team, Byron found himself in sixth place for the start of the final stage, but quickly moved up to fourth within a couple laps. Coming to pit road on Lap 133 when the caution flag was displayed, the No. 24 team went to work servicing the Hertz Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 with four tires and fuel. Restarting 12th with 52 laps remaining at the superspeedway, Byron maintained his position within the middle of the pack, trying to keep his nose clean while preparing to make a move when the time came. With less than 10 laps left, Byron raced his way up to 11th when the caution came out on Lap 183. Electing not to pit, Byron lined up 11th for the four-lap shootout to the end. Getting shuffled out of line as the field went back green, Byron was trying maneuver his way back through traffic but unfortunately got caught up in an on-track incident on the backstretch of the final lap relegating the No. 24 Hertz Chevy to a 21st-place finish.