Alex Bowman faces an uphill battle at New Hampshire Motor Speedway after the driveshaft came out of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in qualifying.
The 13th driver in line to qualify, Bowman was coming down the frontstretch when the piece broke – coming out of the car – and he oiled down the track, causing a delay. Bringing his car to a stop on the apron in Turn 1, Bowman did not complete a qualifying lap for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).
Bowman was sixth-fastest in practice Friday afternoon and said there had been no indication of a problem.
“No, just a big boom going down the front straightaway and then smoke and oil everywhere and just trying to get it off the racetrack,” Bowman told the NBCSN broadcast. “It’s just a bummer. I don’t know if we were going to qualify very well, with Turns 1 and 2 being a beach right now with all the speedy dry down there (from an incident in Xfinity Series practice), but we were definitely going to start better than last, and obviously, we’re going to start last now.
“Bummed for my Axalta 88 guys. Our race car’s been really good all day, but we’ll put a new driveshaft in it and go from there.”
In seven New Hampshire starts, Bowman has a career-best finish of 11th, which he achieved last year.
Bowman is the third driver to go to a backup car this weekend. Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman, regardless of where they qualifying, will also move to the rear of the field after crashing in practice.
“The short track package is really easy to pass with; we’re going to drive straight to the front,” Bowman deadpanned. “It’s not going to be an issue at all. We might even lead every lap somehow. You never know.”