Alex Bowman races into the top 5 at Kentucky Speedway

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"If you would have told me at the beginning of the night we would have a top 5 finish, and be the highest finishing Toyota Camry I wouldn't have believed you"

RAB Racing with Brack Maggard and the No. 99 ToyotaCare Camry with driver Alex Bowman came into Kentucky Speedway with one simple goal, to improve on their tenth place finish at the speedway last June. Their goal became more difficult as the scheduled two and a half hours of practice were cut down to only thirty minutes, after rain interrupted the first session and canceled the second and final session. After recording the 19th fastest lap in the first practice session and qualifying in the 20th position, the No. 99 team were still confident for the Kentucky 300 as crew chief Chris Rice had a strategic plan to get to the front.

Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

The green flag flew on the 200 lap event and the plan that crew chief Rice had in place worked perfectly as Bowman immediately began moving through the field. Rice had purposely kept the No. 99 on the tight side all weekend as he knew the race track would lose grip throughout the nighttime event. With only thirty laps completed Bowman was already knocking on the door of the top 10, running in the eleventh position and consistently completing laps at the same speed the as the top 5. It was evident early in the event that Bowman had a fast car, owner and general manager Robby Benton who is also the spotter for the No. 99 cautioned the rookie driver, telling him to save his equipment for the end of the race. Bowman did just that and ran in the top 10 the rest of the night, through fast pit stops, small car setup adjustments from Rice, and daring three-wide passes on restarts. On the second to last restart of the night, with only 14 laps to go, Bowman made the move that would ultimately set him up for a top 5 finish. In the very first corner Bowman shot to the bottom to make it three wide and went from ninth position to fourth position, and after a fierce battle with the Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr., Bowman finished in the fifth position. The fifth place finish was the team's second of the season, and was the 16th top 15 finish in only 27 races so far this year. Bowman also received the Sunoco Rookie of the Race award, and was the highest finishing Toyota Camry.

Alex Bowman: "If you would have told me at the beginning of the night we would have a top 5 finish, and be the highest finishing Toyota Camry I wouldn't have believed you, but my crew chief Chris Rice had a plan this entire weekend. The car setup he utilized just wasn't fast for one or two laps, but over a long green flag run where handling came into the equation we were as good as anyone in the field. I have to give a lot of credit to our RAB Racing pit crew and crew chief Chris Rice, we had a really fast ToyotaCare Camry all night and with the right adjustments at the right time and fast pit stops they put me in position to capitalize on other's mistakes. I had a lot of fun tonight racing some really great competitors, racing really tight in three wide battles and have always enjoyed the track here at Kentucky Speedway, so I will have a smile on my face for a few days. Next week will be a challenge as we just haven't mastered the "Monster Mile" in Dover, Delaware but this will definitely give us some momentum."

With his fifth place finish Bowman was able to gain a considerable amount of ground on the top 10 in the driver point standings, but stayed in the 11th position, 44 points out of 10th position. Robby Benton also gained ground in the owner point standings but maintained his 16th position, only 44 points out of the 13th position. The next race for the NASCAR Nationwide Series is the One Main Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, September 28th. The race will be televised live on ESPN2 and can be heard on SIRIUS Satellite Radio and MRN Radio.

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About this article
Series NASCAR-NS
Article type Race report
Tags bowman, kentucky speedway, nns, toyota