Bowman secures a place in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs by winning on a wet Chicago street course

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Alex Bowman and his team with the trophy after winning the race

Finally, Alex Bowman won a race and secured a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. “I’m going to drink a lot of bourbon tonight, it’s going to be wild,” said a happy Bowman. “I might wake up naked on the bathroom floor again. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”

Bowman held off Tyler Reddick on a rainy street course in downtown Chicago on Sunday, ending an 80-race streak without a win.

It was his first victory since March 2022 in Las Vegas and his eighth career win. He’s the 12th driver to win a Cup Series race this year, leaving four spots left in the playoffs with six races left in the regular season.

After his last win in Vegas, Bowman, 31, had health setbacks, including a concussion and a back injury from an accident in April 2023. “You start to wonder if you’ll ever get another chance to win a race,” he said. But not anymore.

A red flag signals race stoppage as rain pours down during a NASCAR Cup

The race in Chicago was stopped for over 100 minutes due to rain, and NASCAR had to end it by 8:20 p.m. CDT due to the fading daylight. Bowman crossed the finish line after that time, so the race ended with the white flag and then the checkered flag.

Reddick tried to catch Bowman late in the race but hit the wall. “I had the chance to catch him,” Reddick said. “I just couldn’t do it. I needed to do one clean lap, and I couldn’t even manage that.”

Bowman finished the race on wet weather tires in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after Kyle Larson and Shane van Gisbergen, who started on pole, were knocked out of contention.

During the cool-down lap, Bubba Wallace bumped Alex Bowman into the wall. Earlier in the race, Bowman had spun out Wallace.

“I need to apologize again to the guys on the 23 team,” Bowman said. “I messed up trying to activate my windshield wiper, missed a turn, and ruined their race day. I really regret that. I’m still embarrassed about it.”

Kyle Larson crashed into the tire barrier at Turn 6 on Lap 34, which brought out a caution. He was aiming for his fourth win of the season in his 350th Cup Series start.

“As soon as I hit the brakes, I knew I was in trouble,” Larson said. He currently leads Chase Elliott by 11 points in the driver standings.

Cars line up before the race

Shane van Gisbergen was clipped by Chase Briscoe entering Turn 6 on Lap 25. Briscoe slid into a tire barrier, while van Gisbergen hit a temporary wall, causing significant damage to the right side of his Kaulig Racing Chevrolet.

“I started turning in, everything looked good, and then I got hit,” van Gisbergen said. “It’s really disappointing.”

The race was paused shortly after the crash to allow NASCAR to clear standing water from the makeshift track. Drivers returned to their cars about an hour later, but the delay continued due to another passing rain cell.

Ty Gibbs led when the race resumed, followed by Christopher Bell and Larson.

“It’s really enjoyable. It feels a bit like racing on dirt, to be honest,” Gibbs commented on the wet track conditions. “You have to pick your lines carefully, find where the track is drying out and faster. It keeps you looking around, which is fun since we don’t often get to do that.”

Shane van Gisbergen achieved a career-changing win last year in Chicago by becoming the first driver to win his Cup Series debut since Johnny Rutherford in the second qualifying race at Daytona in 1963.

Alex Bowman is pumped up on the stage after winning the race

The 35-year-old from New Zealand also won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race on the challenging 12-turn, 2.2-mile track. Van Gisbergen won the first stage on Sunday before he was knocked out of the race.

“We were leading and I felt I was driving well,” he said. “It’s disappointing to be out so early. I wish we could have had a proper chance at the end.”

Alex Bowman’s victory concluded NASCAR’s second year on the Chicago street course. The event is set to return next season, but the future of the weekend — a mix of racing and music aimed more at NASCAR newcomers than its traditional fans — is uncertain after 2025.

Unlike last year, when persistent rain disrupted the schedule, causing shortened races for both the Xfinity and Cup Series, weather was not an issue until the Cup drivers were in their cars and ready to start.

Rain began to fall just as the engines fired up, forcing teams to quickly decide whether to switch to wet tires. Although the rain initially eased off, it intensified about 17 laps into the race, eventually leading to a stoppage.


By Brian Anderson

Hi myself Brian, I am a second-year student at Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Noida, pursuing a BBA degree. I am a multi-faceted individual with a passion for various hobbies, including cricket, football, music, and sketching. Beyond my hobbies, I possess a keen interest in literature, particularly fictional books, and channels my creativity into content writing. I am constantly exploring the realms of both business administration and the world of imagination through my diverse pursuits.

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