Bowman wins rain-shortened Chicago street race

NASCAR driver won on a rainy day in Chicago Sunday, and in so doing punched his ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. It's his first victory since winning in Las Vegas in March 2022.



July 8, 2024 - 1:45 PM

Alex Bowman #48 poses for a photo with his teammates after winning the Grant Park 165 of the NASCAR Street Race on Sunday, July 7, 2024, at Grant Park in Chicago. Photo by Vincent Alban/Chicago Tribune/TNS

CHICAGO (AP) — At long last, Alex Bowman got a win. And a spot in the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

So yeah, he was ready to party.

“We’re going to drink so much damn bourbon tonight, it’s going to be a bad deal,” a jubilant Bowman said. “I’m probably going to wake up naked on the bathroom floor again. That’s just part of this deal sometimes.”

Bowman held off Tyler Reddick on a rainy street course in downtown Chicago on Sunday, stopping an 80-race winless drought.

People watch from windows along Michigan Avenue during the NASCAR Chicago Street Race on Sunday, July 7, 2024, in Chicago.Photo by Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

It was his first victory since Las Vegas in March 2022 and No. 8 for his career. He is the 12th Cup Series driver to win this year, leaving four remaining spots in the playoffs with six races left in the regular season.

After his Vegas victory two years ago, Bowman, 31, was sidelined by a concussion. He injured his back in a short-track accident in April 2023.

“You start to second-guess if you’re ever going to get a chance to win a race again,” he said.

Not anymore.

The Cup Series’ second street race in Chicago was stopped for more than 100 minutes because of rain, and NASCAR set a cutoff time of 8:20 p.m. CDT because of the fading sunlight. When Bowman crossed the start-finish line after that time, the white flag came out, followed by the checkered.

Reddick made a late charge, but he got into a wall while trying to run down Bowman. Ty Gibbs was third, followed by Joey Hand and Michael McDowell.

“I got the opportunity to run him down,” Reddick said. “Just obviously couldn’t get the job done. A clean lap was all I had to do and couldn’t even do that.”

Bowman closed it out on wet weather tires in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after pole-sitter Kyle Larson and Shane van Gisbergen were knocked out.

During the cool-down lap, Bowman was bumped into the wall by Bubba Wallace. Bowman spun out Wallace early in the race.

“I have to apologize again to the 23 guys,” Bowman said. “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.”

Larson slammed into the tire barrier in Turn 6 on Lap 34, bringing out a caution. He was trying for his fourth win of the season in his 350th career Cup Series start.