Another promising run for Dale Jr. sub Alex Bowman cut short
Another promising run for Alex Bowman as a substitute driver for Dale Earnhardt Jr. came to a premature end on Sunday.
Bowman was running third and gaining on second-place Kyle Busch on Lap 63 of 334 when his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet appeared to cut a tire in Turn 3.
Bowman’s car immediately veered to the right and slammed into Casey Mears, who was running a lap down at the time. Both drivers took their respective cars to the garage for extensive repairs.
Sunday’s rain-delayed Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was Bowman’s fifth start in the No. 88.
He’s finished 14th or better in two of the races. In two others he was running in the Top 10 at New Hampshire and Chicagoland, when a flat tire and engine issue, respectively, knocked him out of contention.
“It’s too bad he didn’t put us out of our misery there, we were having a rough start,” Mears said in the garage. “We were just hanging on. Actually (Bowman) was going by us and he either blew a right-front tire or had something come loose and ran into us.”
Bowman confirmed his No. 88 cut a tire heading into the corner.
“I had a great race car. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here,” he said. “They knew we were here. It’s just unfortunate we don’t get to finish.”
Of the six remaining Sprint Cup races this season, Bowman is scheduled to drive five in place of Earnhardt, who continues to recover from a concussion. Jeff Gordon will drive the No. 88 in the race at Martinsville, Va.
Bowman started a career-best second in Sunday’s race.
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