After saying his team was “beat down” to start the season, Alex Bowman and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports crew have now scored consecutive runner-up finishes.
Last weekend, Bowman followed Hendrick teammate Chase Elliott across the finish line in Talladega; today he drove through the field in Dover and came up just one spot short, finishing behind winner Martin Truex Jr.
Starting at the back because of multiple inspection failures, Bowman appeared to have one of the fastest cars in the Gander RV 400, and quickly established himself as a top-10 contender.
“I’m worn out,” Bowman told FOX Sports 1. “This was physically the hardest race of the year for me for sure. We at least had a shot at it; that’s really all you can ask for. Nationwide Small Business Chevy was really good.
“So proud of [crew chief] Greg Ives and everybody on this 88 team. We had a miserable start to the season but we did a really good job resetting over the off week, and we’ve come out strong since then.”
Bowman led 15 laps near the end of Stage 1 but lost the lead to Truex on the final lap of the stage. In the heat of the moment, Bowman was upset with the lapped car of Darrell Wallace Jr., but was told the team wasn’t angry, and the focus was on the checkered flag at the end of the race.
Bowman never regained the lead, though, and spent the rest of the race chasing Truex. He was over nine seconds behind at the checkered flag and said it was a hard race in which to make passes.
Even if Bowman could have driven around Truex, which he believes he could have done, he would have used up his car doing so.
“It would be better if we had a trophy, right? But we needed this, for sure,” Bowman said of his uptick in confidence after his second top-10 finish of the season. “Talladega is a speedway; there’s a lot of luck involved. But to come here to, in my opinion, the hardest racetrack we go to, and run like that from the back of all [places to start] was pretty special.
“Just proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports for all the improvement we’ve made over the last year or so. We’re going to keep it going.”