July 8, 2024 | By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service

Alex Bowman breaks long winless drought on the streets of Chicago

Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

CHICAGO, Ill. — On a wet-and-dry day on the streets of Chicago, crew chief Blake Harris made the right call, and driver Alex Bowman promised to wet his whistle after ending an 80-race drought.

“The last time we won, we didn’t really get to celebrate—we’re going to drink so much damn bourbon tonight,” said Bowman, who clinched a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with his victory in Sunday’s Grant Park 165 at the Chicago Street Race.

“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.”

Driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Bowman claimed the eighth victory of his career with a pass of sports car ace Joey Hand on Lap 51—moments before Josh Berry plowed into the tire barrier in Turn 2 of the 2.2-mile, 12-turn course to cause the fifth and final caution.

At that point, the race was on the clock, thanks to a heavy rain that had caused a lengthy stoppage after Lap 25. Facing a deadline of 8:20 p.m., with two laps to follow that point in the race, Bowman held off runner-up Tyler Reddick to win an event shortened from 75 to 58 laps because of the delay.

Harris got his first win as a crew chief by keeping Bowman out on older wet tires after the final caution. Neither Christopher Bell, who arguably had the best car in the race, nor Reddick could catch Bowman over the closing laps.

Bell’s charge to the front was blunted by a five-car melee, and Reddick nicked the wall and lost momentum on the final lap.

“We were catching Alex by a large margin there, and, I don’t know, that puzzles me,” said Reddick, who finished second for the second straight week. “I clearly just screwed up. Trying to stay in the dry groove, and I had more than enough of dry groove… I cut the wheel a little too hard.”

Bowman crossed the finish line with a 3.447-second edge over Reddick to score his first win since March 6, 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“Man, I broke my back (in a sprint car accident), had a brain injury, and we’ve kind of sucked ever since,” Bowman said. “I didn’t… you start to second-guess if you’re ever going to get a chance to win a race again.”

Enhancing Bowman’s opportunity on Sunday was the ill fortune that befell the top two contenders.

Halfway through the restart lap for Stage 2 (Lap 25), the complexion of the race changed dramatically. Chase Briscoe, out of control in his No. 14 Ford, slid toward the tire barrier in Turn 6 and clipped the rear of the Chevrolet of defending winner Shane van Gisbergen.

The impact propelled van Gisbergen’s Camaro nose-first into the outside wall at the exit from the corner, and the car came to rest, unable to continue. Van Gisbergen’s exit suddenly raised the stakes for the drivers who trailed him to the finish line in Stage 1.

After leaving the infield care center, van Gisbergen watched a replay of the incident.

“Just sort of turned in, looked pretty good and then just got smashed by someone (Briscoe),” the New Zealander said. “Just gutting. The car was really good. We were in the lead for a lot of that race and, you know, felt good taking off in the rain. That sucks—an unfortunate mistake by him, but I’m sure he didn’t mean it.

“But, yeah, when he just clipped me, there was nothing I could do. Of course I’m disappointed. We had a pretty amazing Camaro there… I felt like I was driving well within myself. It’s a shame to be out so early and a shame we couldn’t have a proper crack at it at the end.”

By the time Briscoe delivered the coup de grace to the No. 16 Chevy, Gibbs had wrested the lead from Zane Smith, who stayed out on older wet tires, and Bell, who was first off pit road during the stage break.

The field didn’t complete Lap 25 before NASCAR called the second caution of the race for heavy rain. After a red-flag period of 1 hour, 43 minutes, one second, the race resumed and went green on Lap 31, with Bell retaking the lead from Gibbs before completion of that circuit.

On Lap 34, pole winner Kyle Larson, in pursuit of Gibbs, hydroplaned into the Turn 6 tire barrier, damaging his No. 5 Chevrolet beyond repair.

In a race where late strategic calls scrambled the field, Gibbs led a race-high 17 laps and came home third, followed by Hand and Michael McDowell. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Todd Gilliland, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney completed the top 10.

Bell led 14 circuits, but he, Gibbs and Reddick pitted for slick tires on Lap 43 and couldn’t get back to the front.

For the second straight year, rain shortened the NASCAR Cup race at the Chicago Street Race, but the wet weather did little to diminish the festival atmosphere that captivated the Windy City throughout the weekend.

“I’ve raced about every street course in the country and a lot around the world, and you won’t find a backdrop like this,” said Hand, who led seven laps on wet tires before Bowman led the final eight.



NASCAR Cup Series Race Number 20
Race Results for the Grant Park 165 - Sunday, July 7, 2024
Chicago Street Race - Chicago, IL - 2.2 - Mile Paved


Total Race Length - 58 Laps - 127.6 Miles

Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sunday, 7/7/2024 @ 09:31 PM Eastern

Fin Str Car Driver Team Laps Stage 1 Pos Stage 2 Pos Pts Status Tms Laps Playoff Pts
1 8 48 Alex Bowman Ally Chevrolet 58 6 2 54 Running 1 8 5
2 4 45 Tyler Reddick Jordan Brand Toyota 58 9  37 Running  
3 2 54 Ty Gibbs Monster Energy Toyota 58 3  42 Running 2 17
4 38 60 * Joey Hand BuildSubmarines.com Ford 58  1 43 Running 1 7 1
5 3 34 Michael McDowell Chicago White Sox Ford 58   32 Running  
6 33 47 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Mariano's/Colgate Optic White Chevrolet 58  8 34 Running  
7 26 38 Todd Gilliland gener8tor Ford 58 8  33 Running  
8 27 24 William Byron Relay Payments Chevrolet 58   29 Running  
9 19 8 Kyle Busch zone Chevrolet 58   28 Running  
10 17 12 Ryan Blaney Menards/Dutch Boy Ford 58   27 Running  
11 9 99 Daniel Suarez Jockey x Folds of Honor Chevrolet 58 10  27 Running  
12 35 31 Daniel Hemric Cirkul Chevrolet 58  7 29 Running  
13 6 23 Bubba Wallace McDonald's Toyota 58 7  28 Running  
14 28 10 Noah Gragson Bass Pro Shops Winchester Ford 58  6 28 Running  
15 21 2 Austin Cindric Discount Tire Ford 58   22 Running  
16 23 51 Justin Haley Pinnacle Home Improvement Ford 58   21 Running  
17 30 71 Zane Smith # Focused Health Chevrolet 58   20 Running 1 3
18 10 6 Brad Keselowski Elk Grove Village Ford 58  3 27 Running  
19 15 3 Austin Dillon Get Bioethanol Chevrolet 58   18 Running  
20 16 17 Chris Buescher Fastenal Ford 58   17 Running  
21 18 9 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 58   16 Running  
22 14 1 Ross Chastain Busch Light Peach Chevrolet 58   15 Running  
23 32 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 58   14 Running  
24 13 77 Carson Hocevar # Zeigler Auto Group Chevrolet 58  4 20 Running  
25 31 21 Harrison Burton Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford 58  9 14 Running  
26 40 15 Kaz Grala # Remixers.com/Meat n' Bone Ford 58   11 Running  
27 20 7 Corey LaJoie Celsius Chevrolet 58   10 Running  
28 39 66 * Josh Bilicki(i) Purekick Hydration Ford 58   0 Running  
29 25 43 Erik Jones AdventHealth Toyota 58   8 Running  
30 11 11 Denny Hamlin Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota 58  10 8 Running  
31 34 33 * Austin Hill(i) United Rentals Chevrolet 58   0 Running  
32 22 14 Chase Briscoe Mahindra Compact Tractors Ford 58 4  12 Running  
33 24 19 Martin Truex Jr. Bass Pro Shops Toyota 58  5 10 Running  
34 29 41 Ryan Preece HaasTooling.com Ford 58   3 Running  
35 12 42 John Hunter Nemechek Dollar Tree Toyota 57   2 Running  
36 36 4 Josh Berry # Overstock.com Ford 57   1 Running  
37 7 20 Christopher Bell CRAFTSMAN Racing For A Miracle Toyota 55 2  10 Accident 2 14
38 37 13 * AJ Allmendinger(i) Benesch Chevrolet 48   0 Accident  
39 1 5 Kyle Larson Valvoline Chevrolet 33 5  7 Accident  
40 5 16 Shane Van Gisbergen(i) Wendy's Saucy Nuggs Chevrolet 24 1  0 Accident 2 9

Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 19 Mins, 24 Secs. Average Speed: 54.921 MPH Margin of Victory: 2.863 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10: 16, 20, 54, 14, 5, 48, 23, 38, 45, 99
Stage 2 Top 10: 60, 48, 6, 77, 19, 10, 31, 47, 21, 11

Caution Flags: 5 for 19 laps; Laps: 18-24 (No. 7 incident turn 5 [66]); 26-30 (No. 14 incident turn 6 [Red Flag: Lap 26, 1:43:01] [22]); 35-37 (No. 5 incident turn 6 [43]); 47-48 (Stage 2 Conclusion [43]); 52-53 (No. 4 incident turn 2 [None]).

Lead Changes: 9 among 6 drivers; K. Larson 0; T. Gibbs 1-11; S. Van Gisbergen(i) 12-14; C. Bell 15; S. Van Gisbergen(i) 16-21; Z. Smith # 22-24; T. Gibbs 25-30; C. Bell 31-43; *. Hand 44-50; A. Bowman 51-58.

(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Next Race: July 14, 2024 - Pocono Raceway

NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications @ P.O. Box 2875, Daytona Beach, FL 32120-2875

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