Charlotte Motor Speedway continued a hot start to the season for Alex Bowman, although it had a disappointing ending.
Bowman had the dominant car in the first half of the Coca-Cola 600 and sat third on the overtime restart. Giving a helpful shove to leader Brad Keselowski going into Turn 1, Bowman got out of shape through the corners and was quickly swallowed up by the field. He finished 19th.
“That finish does not show how great of a Chevrolet we had today in Charlotte,” said Bowman. “We won two stages, led over 160 laps, and really had a solid car.”
Bowman won two of the three stages at Charlotte, and led a race-high 164 laps. The first 105 laps Bowman led came in the first 158 laps of the race. Late in the opening stage, he commanded a lead of 6.7 seconds on Martin Truex Jr.
Bowman sat atop the leaderboard two more times during the race. After finishing second to Joey Logano in the third stage, he dropped outside the top five following a pit stop with 50 laps to go, but was back in contention with 30 laps to go. Before the overtime attempt, it looked like Bowman would earn a fifth-place finish.
“We would get loose or tight in certain areas, but Greg (Ives, crew chief) and the guys made some good adjustments on pit road,” he said. “At the end there, it just went straight. Not much I could do with that and unfortunately don’t have a finish to show how strong we were today.”
Bowman has now led over 100 laps in a single race twice in seven races. His current tally of laps led for the year is 318, which puts him second behind points leader Kevin Harvick, who has led 328.
Furthermore, Bowman leads the series in stage points, and is tied with teammate Chase Elliott for the most stage wins at three. He already has a win in the bank to lock him into the postseason, and remains primed to add to that column.
“We learned a lot,” said Bowman, “and hopefully, (we) can come back strong on Wednesday.”