Alex Bowman Ends Winless Streak at Chicago

In a race marked by shifting weather conditions on the streets of Chicago, crew chief Blake Harris made a decisive call, and driver Alex Bowman celebrated ending an 80-race winless streak.

“The last time we won, we didn’t really get to celebrate – we’re going to drink so much damn bourbon tonight,” Bowman said after securing his spot in the Playoffs with a victory in at the Chicago Street Race.

“It’s going to be a bad deal. I’m probably going to wake up naked on the bathroom floor again. That’s just part of this deal sometimes.” Driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Bowman earned his eighth career victory by overtaking sports car ace Joey Hand on Lap 51, just before Josh Berry crashed into the tire barrier in Turn 2, causing the final caution of the race.

With a heavy rain delay after Lap 25, the race was put on the clock, setting a deadline end to the race at 8:20 p.m. Bowman managed to hold off Tyler Reddick to win the event, which was shortened from 75 to 58 laps.

Harris earned his first win as a crew chief by keeping Bowman out on older wet tires after the last caution. Bell’s attempt to take the lead was hindered by a five-car crash, and a hard-charging Reddick lost momentum after hitting the wall on the final lap.

“We were catching Alex by a large margin there, and, I don’t know, that puzzles me,” said Reddick. For the second week in a row, he appeared to take the loss extremely hard.

Bowman crossed the finish line with a 2.863-second lead over Reddick, marking his first victory since March 6, 2022, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. “Man, I broke my back (an accident that happened in his sprint car), had a brain injury (from a concussion at Texas) and we’ve kind of sucked ever since,” Bowman said. “I didn’t… you start to second-guess if you’re ever going to get a chance to win a race again.”

During the restart lap for Stage 2 (Lap 25), the race took a dramatic turn. Chase Briscoe, losing control of his No. 14 Ford, slid into the tire barrier in Turn 6 and clipped the rear of Shane van Gisbergen’s Chevrolet, sending it into the outside wall. Van Gisbergen, who had been favored to win, was disappointed when his car came to a stop and significantly altered the race’s dynamics.

As Briscoe’s car took out the No. 16 Chevy, Gibbs took the lead from Zane Smith, who stayed out on older wet tires, and Bell, who had pitted first during the stage break.

The race was red-flagged for heavy rain before completing Lap 25, leading to a delay of 1 hour, 43 minutes, and one second. When the race resumed on Lap 31, Bell reclaimed the lead from Gibbs.

On Lap 34, pole winner Kyle Larson, also heavily favored for the win, hydroplaned into the Turn 6 tire barrier, causing irreparable damage to his No. 5 Chevrolet.

In a race characterized by strategic calls that shuffled the field, Gibbs led for 17 laps and finished third, followed by Hand and Michael McDowell. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Todd Gilliland, William Byron, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10.

On the cool down lap, just as Bowman flipped up his visor to rub his eyes, Bubba Wallace took a hard left and purposely rammed the 48 to demonstrate how angry he was that Bowman had made contact earlier in the race. Seemingly, Bubba failed to realize that the majority of the field had made contact at some point in the race, including his boss Denny Hamlin who was turned early on by Ricky Stenhouse. For a while, directly following the rain delay, the track looked like bumper cars given the ongoing collisions and spins, but that didn’t stop Wallace from taking it personally. During the delay, Bowman had already made a point of apologizing for hitting Wallace and stated how embarrased he was by the incident.

For the second consecutive year, rain stepped in and ultimately shortened the Chicago Street Race, but the wet weather did little to dampen the festival atmosphere.