Alex Bowman stuck to the plan being a good Chevrolet man for most of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Unfortunately, Bowman never got to look out for himself when it came to trying to win the race. A caution on the final lap stopped him cold, and he finished second to his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott.
“I was going to be selfish as hell coming to the start/finish line, but we just didn’t quite make it that far,” said Bowman.
Bowman, Elliott and all other Chevrolet drivers perfected the pre-race plan of working together with the focus of getting the manufacturer to victory lane. Off the race’s final restart with four laps to go, Bowman and Elliott made quick work of the leaders to take control of the race by planting themselves in the bottom lane.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. crashed coming out of the tri-oval as the field took the white flag, but NASCAR didn’t immediately throw the caution. The yellow wasn’t called until NASCAR officials spotted debris coming from Stenhouse’s car, which was just as a multi-car crash between William Byron, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Kyle Larson, who flipped, broke out on the backstretch.
“Apparently my crew chief [Greg Ives] was yelling at my spotter [Kevin Hamlin] to tell me to pull out of line and try to pass (Elliott) sooner because he knew we weren’t going to make it back around,” said Bowman. “I was just waiting. I kept getting runs on Chase — when we were all running around single file my run would always come on him into the tri-oval and really just thought that’s where I needed to pull out.
“Who knows if the 47 [Ryan Preece, who was third] goes with us or not? We either win or we finish third or we do something like that. But it is what it is. Wish we would have been one spot better but it’s a good day for us.”
The finish gave Bowman his first top-10 finish of the season. Entering the weekend Bowman had not finished better than 11th (at Daytona and Las Vegas), and had five finishes of 17th or worse.
“It feels great just to get the monkey off our back, this year has been horrendous,” said Bowman. “It’s been pretty embarrassing, quite honestly. Just the mistakes I’ve made and the amount of things we’ve kind of let happen and caused on ourselves. So, really good execution today and really proud to reset after that off weekend.
“Hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”