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Race report
NASCAR Cup Chicago

NASCAR Cup Chicago: Alex Bowman prevails in wild race against the clock

Alex Bowman snapped an 80-race winless streak and emerged as the surprise winner at the Chicago Street Course, a race cut short by darkness for the second consecutive season.

With a nearly two-hour rain delay in the second stage, NASCAR had set 8:20 p.m. Local time hard end to Sunday’s originally scheduled 75-lap race.

Alex Bowman was among a handful of cars that elected not to pit before the start of the final stage and remained on wet weather tires.

After a several lap battle with sports car star Joey Hand, Bowman moved into the lead on lap 51, just before a caution was displayed for Josh Berry smashing into the tire barriers.

When the race resumed on lap 54, about four minutes remained on the clock. Bowman got a good jump on the restart, then held off a fast-approaching Tyler Reddick – on new slick tires – by 2.863 seconds to earn his first win of the 2024 season and lock himself into the playoffs.

Watch: Alex Bowman on Chicago win: ‘I know it means a lot to this team’

Bowman’s most recent win came on March 6, 2022, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and now all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers have qualified for the 16-driver playoff field.

"Anytime you go to the race track with Hendrick Motorsports, you've got a shot," Bowman said after the race. "But first off, I have to apologize again to the No. 23 guys (and driver Bubba Wallace). Just messed up, trying to get my windshield wiper on, missed a corner and ruined their day. I hate that. I'm still embarrassed about it, but we have a trophy to take home, and know it means a lot to this team. They put me in position to win the race.
"Man, I broke my back, had a brain injury, and we've kind of sucked ever since, and I didn't  - you start to second-guess if you're ever going to get a chance to win a race again. Last one we won, we didn't really get to celebrate. 
"We're going to drink so much damn bourbon tonight, it's going to be a bad deal. I'm probably going to wake up naked on the bathroom floor again. That's just part of this deal sometimes."

Ty Gibbs finished third, Hand – driving a third entry for RFK Racing – was fourth and Michael McDowell rounded out the top five.

Completing the top-10 were Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Todd Gilliland, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney.

Two of the top contenders for the win on Sunday saw their days end early.

Three-time Supercars champion Shane van Gisbergen – who won this race a year ago – wrecked out on lap 25. Kyle Larson, who started on the pole, wrecked out on lap 34.

The start of Sunday’s race was briefly delayed by a protestor – holding a “Free Palestine” sign – climbing the fence in Turn 3 and handcuffing himself to the fence before he was removed by police.

During the hold, light rain moved into the area and NASCAR allowed teams to choose whether to start the race on wet weather tires before the start.

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Stage 1

After a back-and-forth battle with Christopher Bell, van Gisbergen emerged the leader and clinched the Stage 1 win when a caution was displayed with three laps remaining for an accident involving Corey LaJoie. Bell ended up second, Gibbs third, Chase Briscoe fourth and Larson fifth.

Stage 2

Following a nearly one hour, 45-minute rain delay, Hand inherited the lead when most of the lead lap cars elected to pit before the break and held off Bowman by 0.131 seconds to take the Stage 2 win. Keselowski was third, Carson Hocevar fourth and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top five.

On lap 25 while the field was racing in the rain, Bowman spun out Bubba Wallace in Turn 2 and then in Turn 6, Briscoe locked up his brakes entering Turn 6 and slid wildly into the tire barriers, hitting last year’s race winner, van Gisbergen, in the process.

Van Gisbergen hit the wall after the impact with Briscoe but the damage to van Gisbergen’s No. 16 Chevrolet was too extensive for him to continue.

 

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, a handful of cars elected to pit for slick tires, but Hand remained on the track and in the lead.

NASCAR had earlier in the race set 8:20 p.m. Local time as the end of the race due to impending darkness, which left about 16 minutes remaining when the race resumed on lap 49.

By lap 50, Bowman had closed to the rear bumper of Hand as the pair separated themselves from most of the field while dueling for the lead.

On lap 51, Bowman worked his way around Hand to grab the lead for the first time in the race just before a caution was displayed for Josh Berry slamming into the tire barriers in Turn 2.

The race resumed with about five minutes remaining and Bowman out front of Hand, Keselowski and Truex.

CLA DRIVER # MANUFACTURER LAPS TIME INTERVAL PITS POINTS
1 A. BowmanHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 48 Chevrolet 58

2:19'23.827

  5 54
2 T. Reddick23XI RACING 45 Toyota 58

+2.863

2:19'26.690

2.863 7 37
3
T. GibbsJOE GIBBS RACING
54 Toyota 58

+2.930

2:19'26.757

0.067 7 42
4 J. HandRFK RACING 60 Ford 58

+8.513

2:19'32.340

5.583 6 43
5 M. McDowellFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 34 Ford 58

+8.584

2:19'32.411

0.071 8 32
6 R. Stenhouse JrJTG DAUGHERTY RACING 47 Chevrolet 58

+12.411

2:19'36.238

3.827 7 34
7 T. GillilandFRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS 38 Ford 58

+13.212

2:19'37.039

0.801 7 33
8 W. ByronHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 24 Chevrolet 58

+13.607

2:19'37.434

0.395 8 29
9 K. BuschRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 8 Chevrolet 58

+14.757

2:19'38.584

1.150 7 28
10 R. BlaneyTEAM PENSKE 12 Ford 58

+16.041

2:19'39.868

1.284 6 27
11 D. SuarezTRACKHOUSE RACING 99 Chevrolet 58

+19.301

2:19'43.128

3.260 8 27
12 D. HemricKAULIG RACING 31 Chevrolet 58

+19.557

2:19'43.384

0.256 7 29
13 B. Wallace23XI RACING 23 Toyota 58

+20.637

2:19'44.464

1.080 9 28
14 N. GragsonSTEWART-HAAS RACING 10 Ford 58

+22.513

2:19'46.340

1.876 5 28
15 A. CindricTEAM PENSKE 2 Ford 58

+22.672

2:19'46.499

0.159 6 22
16 J. HaleyRICK WARE RACING 51 Ford 58

+22.910

2:19'46.737

0.238 6 21
17
Z. SmithSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
71 Chevrolet 58

+23.294

2:19'47.121

0.384 5 20
18 B. KeselowskiRFK RACING 6 Ford 58

+23.320

2:19'47.147

0.026 5 27
19 A. DillonRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 3 Chevrolet 58

+23.553

2:19'47.380

0.233 7 18
20 C. BuescherRFK RACING 17 Ford 58

+24.047

2:19'47.874

0.494 5 17
21 C. ElliottHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 9 Chevrolet 58

+27.289

2:19'51.116

3.242 7 16
22 R. ChastainTRACKHOUSE RACING 1 Chevrolet 58

+27.691

2:19'51.518

0.402 8 15
23 J. LoganoTEAM PENSKE 22 Ford 58

+29.559

2:19'53.386

1.868 9 14
24
C. HocevarSPIRE MOTORSPORTS
77 Chevrolet 58

+29.576

2:19'53.403

0.017 5 20
25 H. BurtonWOOD BROTHERS RACING 21 Ford 58

+30.725

2:19'54.552

1.149 7 14
26 K. GralaRICK WARE RACING 15 Ford 58

+32.215

2:19'56.042

1.490 6 11
27 C. LajoieSPIRE MOTORSPORTS 7 Chevrolet 58

+37.083

2:20'00.910

4.868 8 10
28 J. BilickiMBM 66 Ford 58

+37.383

2:20'01.210

0.300 7  
29 E. JonesLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 43 Toyota 58

+37.718

2:20'01.545

0.335 8 8
30 D. HamlinJOE GIBBS RACING 11 Toyota 58

+38.061

2:20'01.888

0.343 5 8
31 A. HillRICHARD CHILDRESS RACING 33 Chevrolet 58

+42.144

2:20'05.971

4.083 6  
32 C. BriscoeSTEWART-HAAS RACING 14 Ford 58

+48.010

2:20'11.837

5.866 7 12
33 M. Truex JrJOE GIBBS RACING 19 Toyota 58

+58.185

2:20'22.012

10.175 6 10
34 R. PreeceSTEWART-HAAS RACING 41 Ford 58

+1'05.832

2:20'29.659

7.647 10 3
35 J. NemechekLEGACY MOTOR CLUB 42 Toyota 57

+1 Lap

2:19'57.355

1 Lap 8 2
36 J. BerrySTEWART-HAAS RACING 4 Ford 57

+1 Lap

2:20'23.847

26.492 8 1
37 C. BellJOE GIBBS RACING 20 Toyota 55

+3 Laps

2:15'24.950

2 Laps 7 10
38 A. AllmendingerKAULIG RACING 13 Chevrolet 48

+10 Laps

2:00'01.831

7 Laps 7  
39 K. LarsonHENDRICK MOTORSPORTS 5 Chevrolet 33

+25 Laps

1:22'50.154

15 Laps 5 7
40 S. van GisbergenKAULIG RACING 16 Chevrolet 24

+34 Laps

55'03.767

9 Laps 4

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