Chicagoland NASCAR: Bowman claims maiden Cup win after rain delay

Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman beat Chip Ganassi Racing's Kyle Larson in a late-race duel to clinch his maiden NASCAR Cup Series victory at Chicagoland

Chicagoland NASCAR: Bowman claims maiden Cup win after rain delay

In his 134th Cup start, Bowman emerged as a contender for victory during a second stage in which he climbed from the periphery of the top 10 to battle with Larson. The two ended up fourth and third respectively at stage end.

Taking the lead early in the final part of the race, Bowman was the first driver to build a three-second lead at any point during the race and seemed en route to a comfortable victory.

But he struggled to clear lapped traffic in the closing 30 laps - losing 1.5 seconds on one lap alone - which allowed a charging Larson to close in.

With eight laps of the 267 lap race remaining, Larson managed to pass Bowman on the inside at Turn 1 to grab the lead.

But Bowman rallied, aggressively side-drafting the #42 Chevrolet down the back straight to regain the lead, and built a margin over the next six laps to prevent another assault from Larson.

Larson, who was in search of his first win in 62 races, had to settle for second - a position in which Bowman had previously finished in three times this year.

The race ended under the floodlights after a storm hit the circuit early on. Red flagged after just 10 laps, a delay of over three hours followed.

Seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson led the field when the red flag was deployed and was a fixture among the top five throughout the race, threatening to end his own 75-race winless streak.

But unable to match Bowman or Larson's late race speed, Johnson slipped back and eventually lost out on third place to Penske's Joey Logano - the reigning champion managing to jump Johnson courtesy of an early final pitstop.

Behind Johnson, Logano's Penske team-mates Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top six. Blaney's race was one of recovery as he picked up a right-rear puncture at the end of stage one, having earlier run as high as second.

Inheriting the stage one win with a smart strategy by taking no tyres at his late-stage pitstop, Denny Hamlin would eventually slip back to finish 15th.

His race was compromised by a penalty for an uncontrolled tyre during a stage two pitstop.

Stage two winner Kevin Harvick had a similarly anonymous end to the race, finishing in 14th. He understeered into the wall while running third at the start of the final stage, and an extended pitstop for repairs dropped him out of contention.

Chase Elliott had also featured at the front of the pack throughout the first two segments of the race.

His victory hopes were derailed when his car was dropped onto the tyre gun air hose during a pitstop, with the delay costing him 18 places. He battled back to 11th.

Result - 267 laps

Pos Driver Team Car
1 Alex Bowman Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
2 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
3 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
4 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
5 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
6 Ryan Blaney Team Penske Ford
7 Erik Jones Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
8 William Byron Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
9 Martin Truex Jr. Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
10 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
11 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
12 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
13 Kurt Busch Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
14 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
15 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
16 Aric Almirola Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
17 Ryan Newman Roush Fenway Racing Ford
18 Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
19 Daniel Hemric Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
20 Michael McDowell Front Row Motorsports Ford
21 Paul Menard Wood Brothers Racing Ford
22 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
23 David Ragan Front Row Motorsports Ford
24 Daniel Suarez Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
25 Darrell Wallace Jr. Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet
26 Ross Chastain Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
27 Matt DiBenedetto Leavine Family Racing Toyota
28 Ryan Preece JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
29 Matt Tifft Front Row Motorsports Ford
30 Corey LaJoie Go FAS Racing Ford
31 Landon Cassill StarCom Racing Chevrolet
32 Bayley Currey Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet
33 Josh Bilicki Rick Ware Racing Chevrolet
34 Reed Sorenson Premium Motorsports Chevrolet
35 Ty Dillon Germain Racing Chevrolet
36 B.J. McLeod Petty Ware Racing Ford
37 Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
38 Quin Houff Spire Motorsports Chevrolet


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