Alex Bowman finishes runner-up for third straight race, leads Hendrick onslaught

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So close – yet again.

Alex Bowman finished runner-up for the third consecutive Cup race in Saturday night’s Digital Ally 400 at Kansas Speedway.

In doing so, Bowman — who also finished second at Talladega and Dover — becomes the first driver in NASCAR history to finish second in three straight races before earning a first career Cup win.

I’m not very proud of myself on lane choice there at the end,” Bowman, who led 63 laps, told Fox Sports 1. “I just made some bad decisions and never really should have given the 2 car (race winner Brad Keselowski) a chance at it. But just made some bad calls late through lapped traffic, got tied off, had to lift and the 2 was able to drive around us.”

But Bowman said there is some consolation in finishing second yet again.

I’m really proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports,” he told FS1. “Our race cars are so much better than what we started the season with. … I wish we were standing here with three wins in a row but we’ll keep digging next week to try and get in the All-Star (Race), win the All-Star and then go try to win the (Coca-Cola) 600.”

Statistically, Bowman now has a finishing average of 2.0 over the last three races.

Bowman was one of three HMS drivers to finish in the top six in Saturday’s race. Chase Elliott was fourth and Jimmie Johnson sixth.

Our car was good, just not great,” Elliott told FS1. “At the restarts on the end, it was just hard to get away and hard to break free.

But it was a solid effort and great to race a teammate for the lead. I think that’s signs of progress. Hopefully, we can keep going in that direction. I hate to give it away to somebody else. He and I were pacing it at the end, but it happens and that’s racing and we’ll just work harder and try to get it next time.”

Added Johnson, whose winless streak has now reached 71 races, “The first three-quarters of the race was pretty awful for us. But, the guys kept their head in the game and made some big adjustments and made some good adjustments and we got back in the mix. We’re still missing some speed though. So, we’ve still got plenty of work to do. I’m pretty frustrated and we’ve got to try to get on top of things. That’s the bottom line.”

The other Hendrick Motorsports driver, William Byron, finished 20th.

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