Alex Bowman would be in really good shape had Kurt Busch not won Sunday’s South Point 400. The Hendrick Motorsports driver scored 11 stage points on Sunday night and was in contention for the win if not for that Lap 235 caution. He was the first car a lap down, so he restarted 10th.
He’d made up ground to finish fifth, but he’s now on the playoff bubble to the Round of 8 at +9.
Still, he’s in a good spot to finish this round off with a berth to the third round. This was his fifth top 10 in his last six starts on the season. He had four in the previous 19 starts.
“I guess it is good to be disappointed in a fifth-place finish,” Bowman said. “We did not need that caution to come out in the middle of the pit cycle like that. I thought it was going to be ok for us, but we just couldn’t get through traffic as well as we needed to.
“Our program is continuing to improve and I just feel like this is another Vegas race that go away from us. At least it was a good points day, which is what we need.”
In this race last year, Bowman finished sixth. In the spring race at Vegas, he had a top two finish coming until a late race caution. He was in the damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation. He and Ryan Blaney had to make the call to pit or not. Everyone else would do the opposite. It cost him a potential win.
He made up for it with a ton of speed on Sunday to keep the momentum going.