JOLIET, Ill. – Alex Bowman scored his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Bowman got by Kyle Larson in a closing laps battle to take Sunday’s rain-delayed race and secure a berth in the playoffs with his first in 134 races.
“I was just tired of running second,” Bowman said in Victory Lane. “I didn’t want to do that anymore. This was the last box, aside from going to chase the championship, that I needed personally myself to validate my career.
“This is all I hear, about me not winning a race. Now everybody can stop giving me crap, we finally did it.”
Larson, who finished second in a late race duel with Kyle Busch in last year’s race, was forced to settle for second.
Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Austin Dillon completed the first 10 finishers.
Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick won the first two stages. Stage Points
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Daytona International Speedway next Saturday night.
How Bowman Won: Larson got by Bowman for the lead with 10 laps remaining in the race. As the duo tried to find various lines around the track for more grip and a run, Bowman was able to find it. With six laps to go he worked around Larson for the top spot and was able to hang on from there to take the checkered flag.
Who Had a Good Day: Larson had his best finish since Las Vegas last September and his second straight runner-up finish at Chicago…Logano scored his sixth straight top-10 Chicagoland finish….Johnson had his best finish since Bristol in April…Keselowski had his ninth-straight Chicagoland top-10 finish.
Who Had a Bad Day: Clint Bowyer made multiple trip into the wall and subsequently on pit road to repair a battered car and finished 37th…Kyle Busch had a variety of problems including a cut tire and damage that led to smoke building up in the cockpit of his car before he finished 22nd…Kevin Harvick, who led a race-high 132 laps, had a strong car and was up front when he clipped the wall causing his car to slide back to finally finish 14th.
What Else Happened: The race was delayed more than three hours by a strong thunderstorm that hit the area just after 11 laps were run. Once things restarted the cooler temperatures and added grip changed the racing and there was a great deal of side-by-side racing for position around the track in the race, which featured the first outing for the new Cup Series rules package at Chicagoland.
Quotable: “I’m the dumb guy that won the race and then got stuck in the mud,” Bowman after his victory celebration left him in the infield grass.
Notables: Bowman led 88 laps driving the No. 88 car…He became the sixth different driver to win in the No. 88…The last driver to score their first career win was Chase Elliott at Watkins Glen last August.