Alex Bowman earned headlines final weekend for his decided work behind the wheel of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, rallying to a dramatic runner-up end on the Charlotte ROVAL to earn a spot within the second spherical of the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection playoffs.
The following part of the NASCAR postseason begins Sunday with the Drydene 400 at Dover Worldwide Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Bowman can also be getting loads of consideration for an incident on pit highway after the race, and he confirmed up at Dover totally anticipating questions on it.
On Sunday, an exhausted Bowman climbed out of his automobile on the Charlotte ROVAL and sat on the bottom leaning towards the automobile having been ailing a lot of the week. Whereas a medical employee and members of his staff kneeled down by him to see how he was feeling, Cup driver Bubba Wallace approached. The 2 drivers exchanged phrases, and Wallace splashed his drink at Bowman as he walked away.
Wallace was indignant with the best way Bowman raced him. And vice versa.
“I am simply targeted on working properly this weekend,” Bowman mentioned Friday. “I am targeted on my race automobile, attempting to provide the very best suggestions I can all through apply and being robust immediately and Sunday.”
When requested if he anticipated any on-track retaliation from Wallace, Bowman deferred.
“I feel that is extra of a query for these guys than it’s for me,” he mentioned. “All I can do is go on the market and do my job. I do not know, you may need to ask them.”
Bowman mentioned he and Wallace haven’t spoken since their heated dialogue on pit highway at Charlotte.
“I really feel like he mentioned what he needed to say after the race,” Bowman mentioned. “I’ve simply been sort of shifting ahead since then. I do not assume we have to discuss earlier than Sunday. I feel it’s what it’s.”
Definitely for Bowman, it has been a constructive begin to the Dover weekend. He was fifth quickest within the opening apply.
REDDICK READY TO RISE IN SERIES RANKS
After saying large profession information this week that he can be shifting up into the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection ranks starting in 2020, Xfinity Collection championship contender Tyler Reddick addressed the media and provided his ideas on the numerous transfer in his profession.
Reddick is the defending Xfinity Collection champion, incomes the title final 12 months with JR Motorsports earlier than shifting to Richard Childress Racing this 12 months. And Reddick has not slowed down. He received the regular-season championship and is ranked third within the playoffs coming to Saturday’s Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200 (Three p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) — the ultimate race of Spherical 1 of the playoffs.
“Richard (Childress) has been fairly open with everybody when requested if he needed to place me in a Cup automobile,” Reddick mentioned Friday. “I feel he realized if I wasn’t going to have the ability to race for him within the Cup Collection I used to be in all probability going to be picked up by another person. They actually needed me to remain.”
Reddick can be changing Daniel Hemric within the No. eight RCR Chevrolet subsequent season. Hemric is a longtime RCR driver who began with the staff driving within the Gander Outdoor Truck Collection earlier than shifting into the Xfinity Collection for 2 years and eventually as much as the Cup ranks. Hemric truly leads the Cup Sunoco Rookie of the Yr standings however has solely a pair of top-10 finishes in his first full Cup season.
Reddick has 5 Xfinity victories this 12 months and a series-best 21 top-5 and 24 top-10 finishes. He received at Las Vegas three weeks in the past and was runner-up on the Charlotte ROVAL playoff race final week.
ELLIOTT ENTERS ROUND 2 OF PLAYOFFS WITH STRONG STATISTICAL OUTLOOK
On paper, Chase Elliott involves Dover Worldwide Speedway with all of the momentum a driver may need. He received final week on the Charlotte ROVAL, is the defending winner of the Drydene 400, received at subsequent week’s venue, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in Might and is the defending race winner on the following monitor, Kansas Speedway.
But, the standard, at all times even demeanor Elliott insists he isn’t essentially an awesome favourite on this playoff spherical regardless of his fairly literal monitor file.
“Previous success would not assure run right here Sunday,” Elliott mentioned, permitting a small smile. “If it did, we would not put any effort in or would not attempt, it will simply be assured so we would not come.”
The second-generation star and the game’s latest “Most Standard Driver” has lengthy adopted the mantra of taking it a “race at a time.” However whenever you’ve been pretty much as good as his No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet staff has been, optimism appears a given.
“It is simply a part of racing,” he mentioned, including, “I feel we simply need to maintain pushing and this spherical positively is not going to be a simple spherical. I feel it’ll be robust. I feel the caliber of vehicles left, there are some actually robust groups in that 12, so I do not count on this to be straightforward, and we’re definitely going to deal with it that means.”
Elliott, nevertheless, has been among the finest at Dover lately. He has six top-5 finishes in seven begins there, together with the playoff win final 12 months and back-to-back top-Three finishes within the two Dover races his rookie 12 months. He received the pole place and began fifth on the monitor this Might.
GOOD NEWS AND A GOOD PLAN
Fan favourite Corey LaJoie shared some excellent news Friday: He and his spouse, Kelly, expect their first youngster due subsequent spring. The couple married New Yr’s Eve 2018.
And the great vibes might properly proceed on-track as properly. The driving force of the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford is hopeful the small staff can have run in Sunday’s race. He received a NASCAR Ok&N Collection race at Dover in 2012. Extra so, LaJoie, son of former Xfinity Collection champion Randy LaJoie, is worked up about subsequent week’s cease at Talladega, Ala., the place he feels his staff has a greater shot at outing.
“We’ve got a reasonably stable common end over the three speedway races this 12 months, and our recreation plan is to not rise up there and race till proper there on the finish as a result of usually we now have simply sufficient pace to get proper into the center of a crash,” LaJoie mentioned.
“We’ll let all people crash first as a result of it is not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. We’ll keep inside arm’s distance, not make errors on and off pit highway and be there on the finish. If there are 15 vehicles left and we’re in an honest spot, you then rise up there and race.”
MONSTER ENERGY SERIES PRACTICE RECAP
Staff Penske driver Joey Logano and Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson led the primary and ultimate apply classes, respectively, on Friday at Dover, Del.
Logano topped opening apply for the Monster Power NASCAR Cup Collection, posting a quick lap of 163.222 mph across the high-banked Dover one-miler. His No. 22 Ford was a full 1 mph quicker than the sphere in that session. Hendrick Motorsports driver — and first-year playoff driver — William Byron was second finest with a lap of 162.133 mph within the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson, an 11-time Dover winner, was third quickest. He turned in his quick lap solely hours after his automobile sponsor, Ally, introduced it was extending its cope with Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 48 Chevrolet staff by way of 2023.
Larson’s No. 42 CGR Chevrolet was quickest in ultimate apply with a finest lap of 162.705 mph — considerably quicker than Martin Truex Jr. (161.377 mph) who received the Cup race at Dover this Might. Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and defending race winner Chase Elliott rounded out the highest 5 in Friday’s ultimate apply session.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver Harvick, a two-time Dover winner, turned within the quickest 10-lap common between each classes.
XFINITY SERIES OPENING PRACTICE RECAP
Playoff driver Chase Briscoe led opening apply at Dover with a pace of 152.394 mph within the No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing with Biagi-DenBeste Ford.
Eight drivers among the many playoff combine turned in top-10 apply runs within the first session. Becoming a member of Briscoe have been Christopher Bell — a two-time defending Dover race winner — and regular-season champion Tyler Reddick, six-race winner Cole Custer and veteran Justin Allgaier, who rounded out the highest 5. Collection rookie Noah Gragson was seventh quickest.
The highest eight of the present 12 playoff drivers will stay championship-eligible following Saturday’s race. Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek, who’re tied in ninth place within the standings, have been ninth and 10th, respectively, within the first session. Eighth-place Michael Annett, who’s on the playoff bubble, was 14th.
–By Holly Cain, NASCAR Wire Service. Particular to Area Degree Media.