I don’t think many people thought that Alex Bowman would be among the 12 drivers to advance out of the opening round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. I know I certainly didn’t.
Nothing against Bowman either but he was backing his way into the 10 race postseason.
Over his last nine regular season races, Bowman’s best finish was 10th. In fact, eight of those nine races saw him finish 14th or worse. Furthermore, if you go back to Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte, the Hendrick Motorsports driver had just four top 10 finishes and only one top five in 14 races.
Alex Bowman races his No. 88 Chevrolet last month at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway
But, he started his postseason off right. Bowman, finished sixth in Vegas. After a struggle at Richmond, he headed back to Charlotte with a small deficit. Then, he got sick on Wednesday and was under the weather all weekend. Combine that with three crashes in the first 41 laps, including a spin on the opening lap, his championship hopes looked dashed.
He had rivals now in Austin Dillon and Bubba Wallace, was sick and had a gap to overcome over the final 59 laps of racing. Not only would he do that, he’d finish second, his best finish since his June 30 win at the Chicagoland Speedway.
Now, he has some much needed momentum back. Bowman has two top six finishes in three races heading to three very strong tracks for him.
Most aren’t going to pick Bowman to move past this round either, but I say use caution. The Cup Series goes to Dover, Talladega and Kansas this round. What if I told you that Bowman finished runner-up in all three of those spring races this year?
What if he can do that again?
Bowman, was runner-up last Sunday. He was runner-up at Dover back in early May. He was runner-up a week before Dover at Talladega in late April and runner-up a week after Dover on the Kansas Speedway race track back in mid-May.
This could be a good Round of 12 for him, one that advances him to the Round of 8. Who saw that coming?