Alex Bowman Wins Saturday’s Rain Delayed Drive For The Cure 300

Concord, NC – It was a wacky and wild day at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. First, we saw rain wash out both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice sessions as well as qualifying for Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Then, we saw while the track was mostly dry, the NBC car driven by Erik Jones hit the steps that someone left out on the front stretch that connects the grandstands to the track.

Then, we’d see the race itself be delayed by over five hours due to rain falling on the North Carolina track. In the race, we’d even see a caution flag fly for a scoring monitor falling on the 1.5-mile track from the flag stand. 

In the end, Alex Bowman took his No. 42 Chevrolet to victory lane for the first time of his NASCAR career. Bowman, was actually making his first start in any race since March 4, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at that, and here he was seven month later taking the win in the Drive For The Cure 300.

Prior to tonight, Bowman’s best XFINITY Series finish was third. His best finish ever at Charlotte was 12th. But, Bowman was given an opportunity by Rick Hendrick and Chip Ganassi to merge together and let the Arizona native get some track time before he replaces Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2018.

The plan worked.

Bowman, passed his future teammate William Byron on Lap 168 and never looked back, leading the final 32 laps en route to the thrilling victory. That car won two of the three races in the first round of the XFINITY Series playoffs with Tyler Reddick winning the opening race of the round at Kentucky Speedway.

Sam Hornish Jr. would bring his No. 12 Ford home runner-up for his second top two finish over his last three XFINITY Series starts. Hornish, started 31st, but charged through the field and came up just short of his second win of the season. The car he was driving won the last two XFINITY Series races at Charlotte and comes home second tonight.

Hornish’s Team Penske teammate of Ryan Blaney brought his No. 22 Ford home third. Last weeks winner now has nine top five finishes in 10 starts this season.

Austin Dillon finished third in his No. 2 Chevrolet while Brennan Poole rounded out the top five in his No. 48 Chevrolet.

Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Daniel Suarez and Erik Jones dominated most of Saturday night’s race, but both had problems in the closing stages.

Suarez, led a race-high 111 of the 200 laps, but he had a pit road problem on Lap 161 which saw him have to restart 25th. He’d rebound and finish eighth. But, it was one that got away from his No. 18 Toyota, as Suarez won the second stage.

Jones, won the first stage and led seven laps himself, but he got into the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 121, then he had an unscheduled stop late in the race which cost him a shot at a good finish.

The first round of the playoffs came to a close on Saturday night too, with all eight drivers that entered the weekend on the good side of the points column advancing to the next round. But, it didn’t come without drama. Blake Koch’s powersteering went out early on in the race and he’d finish 25th. Michael Annett stayed out of pit road on the final restart but he’d spin on the green and get eliminated too. Jeremy Clements was also eliminated as well.

But, Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Reed had a battle amongst themselves in the end, which saw Reed advance past Gaughan by just one point.

The second round of the playoffs will start in two weeks at the Kansas Speedway (3 p.m. ET/NBC/MRN) on Oct. 21.

Drive For The Cure 300 Results

  1. 42 Bowman
  2. 12 Hornish Jr.
  3. 22 Blaney
  4.  2 A. Dillon
  5. 48 Poole
  6. 00 Custer R
  7. 21 Hemric R
  8. 18 Suarez
  9. 19 Tifft R
  10.  1 Sadler
  11. 62 Gaughan
  12. 16 Reed
  13. 33 B. Jones
  14.  4 Chastain
  15.  3 T. Dillon
  16.  9 Byron R
  17. 24 LaJoie
  18. 39 Sieg
  19. 14 Yeley
  20. 51 Clements -1
  21. 07 Black Jr. -1
  22. 01 Rhodes -1
  23.  0 Smithley -1
  24. 90 Gosselin -1
  25. 11 Koch -1
  26. 99 Starr -2
  27.  5 Annett -3
  28.  8 McLeod -4
  29. 40 Finchum -7
  30. 20 E. Jones -8
  31. 52 Gase OUT
  32. 74 Harmon OUT
  33.  7 Allgaier OUT
  34. 23 Gallagher R OUT
  35. 13 Hill OUT
  36. 78 Ruch OUT
  37. 15 Sorenson OUT
  38. 89 Shepherd OUT
  39. 93 Gaulding OUT
  40. 38 Green OUT

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