Bowman’s win was his first in 51 career starts. This was the first of two races he’ll drive for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Xfinity Series before taking over Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s No. 88 Cup ride next year at Hendrick Motorsports. Bowman will be back with the No. 42 Ganassi car at Phoenix in November.
CONCORD, North Carolina — Alex Bowman, making his first Xfintiy Series start of the season, took the lead with 32 laps left and won Saturday night’s rain-delayed race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
While Bowman, who will take over Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Cup ride next season, celebrated his first career Xfinity win, four the 12 playoff contenders were eliminated from title contention.
MORE: Race results
More: Points report
Rain delayed the start of the race more than five hours.
That didn’t matter to Bowman, who scored his first series win in 51 starts.
“To get my first win here in my second home at Charlotte means so much,’’ Bowman told NBCSN.
Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones
Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Suarez
Who else had a good race: Sam Hornish Jr. started 31st in just his fifth start of the season. He was up to second at the beginning of the final stage and ran in the top five most of the rest of the night, finishing second. … Brennan Poole placed fifth, ranking as the highest-finishing playoff driver. It marked his third consecutive top-five finish.
Who had a bad race: Blake Koch battled power steering issues, losing a lap before the opening stage ended. He fell a second lap down and never recovered, finishing 25th. … Angela Ruch brought out the first two cautions for incidents and finished 36th. … Justin Allgaier hit a battery from Ruch’s car after her crash and that caused cooling issues. His engine later expired and he finished 33rd. … Spencer Gallagher had a tire go down and it caused too much damage to repair. He finished 34th. … A slow pit stop and then a penalty for an uncontrolled tire in the final 40 laps cost Daniel Suarez a chance for the win. He finished eighth.
Notable: The cars of Matt Tifft and Blake Koch failed inspection after the race. Both cars were too low. The infraction is likely an L1 penalty. A similar infraction earlier this year in the series was a 10-point penalty. Tifft advances to the next round by 16 points, so a 10-p0int penalty wouldn’t alter the eight playoff contenders if that’s the penalty.
Quote of the night: “That’s what you do in playoffs, that’s what the best playoff teams do in any sport no matter who much you’re down, no matter how much you need, you just find a way,’’ Ryan Reed on advancing by one point to the next round of the playoffs.
What’s next: The series is off until Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.
Sam Hornish Jr. led a Team Penske sweep of the top spots in the final Xfinity Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 300.
Driving the No. 12 Ford, Hornish posted a top speed of 182.420 mph. He was followed by Ryan Blaney at 181.647 mph in the No. 22 Ford.
William Byron, who was sixth fastest, recorded the most laps at 35.
Alex Bowman, making his first Xfinity start of the year with Chip Ganassi Racing, was seventh fastest.
Justin Allgaier (181.690 mph) was fastest in the first of two NASCAR Xfinity Series practice sessions Friday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman (180.668) was second and William Byron (180.650) was third, followed by Erik Jones (179.892), Matt Tifft (179.880), Sam Hornish Jr. (179.575), Daniel Hemric (178.980), Daniel Suarez (178.483), Cole Custer (178.341) and Ty Dillon (178.053).
A significant portion of the scheduled 55-minute session was redflagged to clean up oil and fluids on the track. That prompted NASCAR to extend the session approximately another 15 minutes.
In baseball terms, the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series will both play home games this weekend.
Both series will race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
This will be the fourth race and the start of the second round in the 10-race Cup playoffs, while it will be the third race and the first cut-off race of the seven-race Xfinity playoffs.
The Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend.
Here are the preliminary entry lists for all three races.
Cup – Bank of America 500
There are 40 cars entered for Sunday’s race.
There is currently one unfilled driver spot, that being on the No. 51 Chevrolet of Rick Ware Racing.
In the Coca-Cola 600 in May, Austin Dillon won his first career Cup race.
Xfinity – Drive For The Cure 300
There are 42 cars entered for Saturday’s race.
There are no drivers listed for the No. 38 Chevrolet owned by Susan Bates and the No. 77 Chevrolet owned by Victor Obaika
Also, the No. 96 Chevrolet of GMS Racing has withdrawn. Ben Kennedy had been slated to drive that car.
Sam Hornish Jr. is back for his fifth Xfinity race of the season, driving the No. 12 Ford Mustang for Team Penske.
Randall Burnett will serve as crew chief on the No. 21 Chevrolet of Daniel Hemric after the four-race suspension of Danny Stockman Jr.
Blaney won May’s Xfinity race at Charlotte.