If someone had asked Alex Bowman after qualifying about his outlook for the Coca-Cola 600, he probably would have said he was going to crash his Ally Chevrolet.
“It was so difficult to drive,” Bowman said.
Bowman finished fifth Sunday night with a car that he’d earlier lamented didn’t like him. It was an result that Bowman repeatedly credited to crew chief Greg Ives for making the adjustments needed to get Bowman in the ballpark.
“Still wasn’t thrilled with it at the end, but we just got it faster and a little more drivable,” said Bowman.
Bowman brought up the rear of the Hendrick Motorsports contingent on a night when Rick Hendrick took over sole possession of the all-time wins list. Kyle Larson was the best of the bunch, with Chase Elliott second. All four Hendrick drivers led laps, with Bowman grabbing the lead for five laps after taking two tires in the middle of the second stage.
“We’ll go back to the shop and figure out where we were off,” said Bowman. “Fought with our race car all practice, all qualifying, all race, but we’ll figure out why we were off.
“Obviously, our teammates were a lot faster than us, but having their notes and knowledge to lean on is really good. I felt like a top-five was a really successful night for us, and really proud of Greg for the calls he made atop the box.”
Bowman’s team also had to fix some damaged to their car after Kevin Harvick got into its left rear before the end of the second stage. Yet despite the day-long struggles, Bowman earned points in all three stages and averaged a seventh-place running position.