Alex Bowman will return to NASCAR Cup Series competition this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway after missing the last three points races because of a compression fracture.
In preparation for his return, Bowman ran 170 laps Tuesday at North Wilkesboro Speedway in a NASCAR-approved medical evaluation. Bowman was injured on April 25 when he suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car crash at 34 Raceway in Iowa.
“It’s a boost for all of us to have Alex return to the No. 48 car this weekend at our home track,” said Rick Hendrick. “He’s still 17th in points, which says a lot about how well the team performed at the start of the year. Alex has worked hard to rehab the injury and come back strong, and I look for him to continue having a championship-caliber season.”
Bowman has been granted a playoff waiver by NASCAR. Before being sidelined, Bowman was ninth in the standings with the best average finish in the Cup Series.
Josh Berry drove the No. 48 Chevrolet in Bowman’s absence, including over the weekend in the All-Star Race. Berry won the Open to advance to the $1 million feature event. In his three races as Bowman’s substitute, Berry’s best finish was 10th at Dover Motor Speedway.
“Josh is an absolute pro,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “His talent and hard work allowed the team to continue operating at a high level while Alex recovered. We can’t say enough about the great job he did under some challenging circumstances. We’re grateful to Josh and our partners at JRM for their support.”