Alex Bowman returns No. 48 to NASCAR Victory Lane at Dover

Alex Bowman put the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports back in Victory Lane at Dover – a place with which it had become very familiar over the years.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson won 11 times at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in the No. 48 and turned the reigns over to Bowman when he stepped away from NASCAR racing at the end of the 2020 season.

Bowman, grabbed control of the race on a round of pit stops on Lap 304 of 400, and never relinquished it, holding off teammate Kyle Larson by 2.017 seconds at the finish to win the Drydene 400.

 

The win is Bowman’s second of the season and fourth of his career. This is also the first season in his Cup career with multiple wins.

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“We won Richmond and then had a really rough couple of weeks there. We went to some really good race tracks for us and struggled," Bowman said after the win. "I told the guys last week, ‘We’re still the same team that did it at Richmond’. This is another really good place for us. It feels right to put the No. 48 back in Victory Lane here after how many races that this car has won here.” 

“Mr. H (Rick Hendrick) is here. I don’t think I’ve won with him here before, so that’s really cool. Just so proud of this pit crew. It was obviously a rough off-season for us and a big void to fill (with the death of team member Rowdy Harrell). 

"Thanks to my spotter, Kevin Hamlin, for couching me there at the end. It was fun racing Kyle (Larson) and glad to get Hendrick Motorsports another win.”

HMS teammates Chase Elliott and William Byron finished third and fourth, respectively, as HMS finished 1-2-3-4 for the first time in its existence. Together, the four drivers led 382 of the 400 laps.

“I can guarantee you this is the most nervous I’ve been at a race,” team owner Rick Hendrick said.

HMS also picked up win No. 267, and now trail Petty Enterprises by one of most-ever by an organization in NASCAR history.

Completing the top-10 were Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer.

Stage 3

Following the break between Stages 2 and 3, all lead-lap cars pit and again Larson was the first off pit road.

When the race returned to green on Lap 249, Larson was followed by Bowman, Elliott, Byron and Kurt Busch.

On Lap 302, Aric Almirola appeared to have a right-front tire go down and slammed the Turn 3 wall hard. The right-front wheel well erupted into flames after the incident.

“That one hurt,” Almirola said over his team radio after the hit. He gingerly walked to the ambulance for a ride to the infield care center. Almirola was later evaluated and released from the care center.

 

“My body’s hurting,” Almirola said after he left the care center. “It doesn’t want to take any more hard hits like that.”

All the lead-lap cars pit with Bowman the first off pit road. When the race returned to green on Lap 309, Bowman was followed by Larson, Elliott, Byron and Harvick.

Anthony Alfredo wrecked off Turn 2 on Lap 314 after contact from Ricky Stenhouse Jr. to bring the caution out for the sixth time.

Several lead-lap cars elected to pit but Bowman was among those who remained on the track and continued to lead the way on the restart on Lap 320.

NASCAR displayed the caution on Lap 325 for debris on the frontstretch of the track. The leaders remained on the track and Bowman led the way on Lap 331 followed by Larson, Elliott and Harvick.

With 50 laps to go, Bowman maintained a small lead over Larson while HMS drivers returned to running 1-2-3-4.

Stage 2

Larson held Elliott at bay throughout the entire stage and hung on for the Stage 2 win, completing a sweep of both stage victories.

Bowman finished third, Byron fourth and Hamlin rounded out the top-five.

Following the break between Stages 1 and 2, the lead-lap cars all pit with Larson the first off pit road. Martin Truex Jr.’s team made an extended stop and went under the hood to examine the engine.

When the race returned to green on Lap 130, Larson was followed by Hamlin, Elliott, Blaney and Logano.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was forced to pit under green on Lap 150 after complaining about a vibration.

With 75 laps to go in the second stage, Larson maintained a small but steady lead over Elliott while Ryan Blaney ran third, Hamlin fourth and Harvick fifth.

On Lap 171, Josh Berry hit the wall and fell off the pace, which forced NASCAR to display the caution. All lead-lap cars pit with Larson once again the first off pit road.

When the race returned to green on Lap 177, Larson was followed by Elliott, Hamlin, Harvick and Byron.

With 50 laps remaining in the stage, Larson held a half-a-second lead over Elliott, while Hamlin ran third, 2.7 seconds behind the leader.

On Lap 225, Elliott had closed to almost the rear bumper of Larson’s car as the four Hendrick Motorsports cars ran 1-2-3-4.

 

With five laps to go, Larson pushed his lead back to almost a second over Elliott.

Stage 1

A caution on the last lap of the stage after Chase Briscoe hit the wall sealed Larson’s Stage 1 win.

Hamlin was second, Blaney third, Elliott fourth and Harvick rounded out the top-five.

Truex, who started on the pole, led the first 15 laps until Byron powered around him to grab the top spot on Lap 16.

Around Lap 25, Kyle Busch began fading back through the field and said over his radio he believed he had an engine issue.

 

On Lap 36, NASCAR displayed a competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. All the lead-lap cars pit, with Larson the first off pit road. Both Reddick and McDowell were penalized for speeding on pit road and had to restart the race from the rear of the field.

The race resumed on Lap 41 with Larson out front followed by Byron, Harvick and Hamlin.

With 50 laps remaining in the first stage, Larson had opened up a 1.8-second lead over Harvick while Byron ran third.

On Lap 71, Corey LaJoie was forced to pit under green for a flat right-front tire.

With 20 laps to go, Larson’s lead over Harvick had expanded to 5.2 seconds while Byron remained in third.

Elliott, who started from the rear of the field, enters the top-five for the first time with five laps remaining to go in the stage.

Three drivers – Berry (driver change), Ryan Newman (unapproved adjustments) and Elliott (multiple pre-race inspection failures) – had to start the race from the rear of the field.

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 400 3:19'55.325     98
2 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 400 3:19'57.342 2.017 2.017 263
3 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 400 3:19'58.904 3.579 1.562  
4 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 400 3:20'06.289 10.964 7.385 21
5 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 400 3:20'08.145 12.820 1.856  
6 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 400 3:20'10.207 14.882 2.062  
7 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 400 3:20'11.366 16.041 1.159 2
8 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 400 3:20'11.800 16.475 0.434  
9 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 400 3:20'12.673 17.348 0.873  
10 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 400 3:20'12.898 17.573 0.225  
11 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 400 3:20'13.080 17.755 0.182  
12 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 400 3:20'13.433 18.108 0.353  
13 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 400 3:20'15.847 20.522 2.414  
14 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 400 3:20'17.236 21.911 1.389  
15 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 400 3:20'18.100 22.775 0.864  
16 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 400 3:20'18.573 23.248 0.473  
17 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 400 3:20'18.885 23.560 0.312  
18 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 399 3:19'57.763 1 Lap 1 Lap  
19 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 399 3:20'00.631 1 Lap 2.868 16
20 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 399 3:20'19.835 1 Lap 19.204  
21 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 396 3:19'58.479 4 Laps 3 Laps  
22 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 396 3:20'02.557 4 Laps 4.078  
23 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 396 3:20'04.812 4 Laps 2.255  
24 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 395 3:20'04.443 5 Laps 1 Lap  
25 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 395 3:20'05.763 5 Laps 1.320  
26 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 393 3:20'03.628 7 Laps 2 Laps  
27 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 393 3:20'19.085 7 Laps 15.457  
28 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 392 3:20'11.133 8 Laps 1 Lap  
29 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 388 3:20'07.920 12 Laps 4 Laps  
30 77 Josh Berry Chevrolet 388 3:20'10.873 12 Laps 2.953  
31 51 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 387 3:19'59.764 13 Laps 1 Lap  
32 53 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 383 3:19'56.100 17 Laps 4 Laps  
33 15 Australia James Davison Chevrolet 382 3:20'19.143 18 Laps 1 Lap  
34 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 381 3:20'03.311 19 Laps 1 Lap  
35 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 335 3:20'19.534 65 Laps 46 Laps  
36 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 334 2:57'18.537 66 Laps 1 Lap  
37 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 300 2:25'34.723 100 Laps 34 Laps  

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