RAB Racing and the No. 99 St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, ToyotaCare Camry with driver Alex Bowman came into Chicagoland Speedway with momentum, fresh off of a Sunoco Rookie of the Race award and a top 10 finish, their second in three races.
On track activity began on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway with two practice sessions, the No. 99 Toyota Camry once again showed speed right off the trailer with the third fastest time in both of the sessions. Qualifying was the team's first laps on track Sunday and Bowman recorded the 11th fastest lap, a speed of 176.332 mph and placed him on the inside of row six.
The green flag flew on the STP 300 and immediately Bowman was in heavy traffic and three-wide conditions, utilizing every inch of the track to find a line that best suited the No. 99. The initial report from Bowman was that the car lacked overall grip in the front and rear, causing a four-wheel slide through the corner, and he dropped back to the 15th position.
After 50 of the 200 laps crew chief Chris Rice made air pressure and track bar adjustments to the No. 99 and Bowman began to pick up speed, racing back into the 11th position.
On lap 88, Bowman reported the car was losing volts and the engine picked up a miss due to a lack of electrical power, the team sprung into action changing a battery on pit road, but there were bigger issues which forced them behind the wall.
Ultimately it was a faulty alternator that caused the electrical issue, which caused the team to go 27 laps down and ending any chance at a good run. RAB Racing and Bowman finished 31st, their first part failure of the entire 2013 NASCAR Nationwide season.
Alex Bowman: "I hate it for the crew and all the guys that work hard back at the shop at RAB Racing, we had a car that was really coming to life, only to have our first part failure of the season. Chris Rice made a great adjustment to get us back to where we could run in the top 10, and were running the same lap times, and then right after that pit stop it started loosing volts.
We've been very fortunate so far this season with no part failures and that just comes from great preparation from the guys working at the shop, which I've got to give a lot of credit to. It's just one of those things that's unfortunate, but we'll move on to Indianapolis."
After their 31st place finish Bowman still occupies the 11th place in driver point standings and Robby Benton maintained the 15th position in owner point standings. The next race for RAB Racing and driver Alex Bowman is the Indiana 250 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 27th which will be televised live on ESPN.