Alex Bowman holds off Kyle Larson to earn first career Cup win

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JOLIET, Illinois – After a nasty thunderstorm Sunday afternoon caused a more than three-hour delay, Alex Bowman stormed to his first career NASCAR Cup win in the Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway.

After building a nearly 3.5-second lead, Bowman saw Kyle Larson pass him with eight laps to go. But Bowman then regained the lead two laps later and held on to take the win for the first time in 134 career Cup starts.

“I was just tired of running second,” the 26-year-old Bowman told NBCSN. “I didn’t want to do that anymore. This was the last box — aside from going to chase the championship — that I needed personally myself to validate my career.

“This is all I hear, about me not winning a race. Now everybody can stop giving me crap, we finally did it.”

MORE: Race results, points

Bowman, who earlier this season had three consecutive runner-up finishes, admits this takes a big load off his shoulders emotionally.

“We struggled so bad last year and the beginning of this year, I had questions whether Mr. H. (team owner Rick Hendrick) was going to let me keep doing this,” Bowman said. “To be here winning a race in the Cup Series means so much.”

After taking the checkered flag to conclude the 267-lap race, Bowman forgot that the infield grass was so water-logged from the earlier storm and got his Chevrolet Camaro stuck in the mud. He needed to have the car towed out to get to victory lane.

“I’m the dumb guy that won the race and then got stuck in the mud,” Bowman quipped.

It marked the second straight race at Chicagoland Speedway that Larson finished second, having lost to Kyle Busch on the last lap of last year’s race.

“I wish I could have got the win, but still a good day,” Larson told NBCSN. “I felt good about my car, especially on the long runs. … I was actually surprised I even got to him (Bowman). I just thought he was going to check out. He was struggling, we got to him and got by, but he did a good job to regroup and get the win. It was cool to see him get the win. I’m happy for him.”

Joey Logano finished third, followed by Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and pole sitter Austin Dillon.

Logano, who earned his seventh top-10 finish in 11 Cup starts at Chicagoland Speedway, now holds an 18-point lead over Kyle Busch in the NASCAR Cup standings.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kevin Harvick

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: While Bowman had the best race, it was a great run for Larson and Johnson, who both have not won a race since 2017. … Bowman’s win marked only the second time this season that a driver other than a Joe Gibbs Racing or Team Penske driver has won a race. The only other driver to win is Bowman’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, who took the victory at Talladega.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Clint Bowyer spun into the infield with two laps left in Stage 1. Bowyer had to slowly work his way through the water-soaked grass to prevent getting stuck, causing him to lose significant time, even with the race under caution as a result. Bowyer had another flat tire on Lap 96, making a bad day even worse. Bowyer finished 37th in the 38-car field … Kyle Busch placed 22nd after he had multiple unscheduled pit stops for flat tires and to put out a fire from tire rubber build up in his right rear. It’s just his second finish outside the top 10 through 17 races

NOTABLE: Toyota had won the last four and five of the last six races at Chicagoland Speedway before Bowman’s Chevy won Sunday. … The race was suspended on Lap 12 due to the heavy rainstorm. The delay was three hours, 18 minutes before the race resumed. … Three drivers were sent to the rear of the field at the start of the race: the No. 24 of William Byron (engine change), the No. 32 of Corey LaJoie (transmission change) and the No. 36 of Matt Tifft (pre-race inspection failure).

QUOTE OF THE DAY: This is all I wanted my whole life and I feel like this is a validation for a lot of people who said we couldn’t do this.” – Alex Bowman.

WHAT’S NEXT: Coke Zero Sugar 400, Saturday July 6, 7:30 p.m. ET, Daytona International Speedway.

Bowman received some noteworthy congratulations after his win:

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Sioux Chief to sponsor ARCA Showdown, East Series to race at Nashville Fairgrounds

ARCA Showdown
ARCA
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ARCA announced Saturday that Sioux Chief Manufacturing will be the entitlement sponsor of its 10-race ARCA Menards Series Showdown in 2020.

Sioux Chief Manufacturing is a Missouri company that designs and manufactures rough plumbing products, parts, and accessories for residential, commercial, industrial and government applications

Sioux Chief has been involved in ARCA since 2015 as a race event sponsor and special awards program sponsor and sponsored ARCA’s former Short Track Challenge.

As part of the deal, a newly increased point fund, combined with race purses, owner plan, and contingency awards, will offer teams a chance to compete for a share of over $920,000 in posted awards throughout the series.

The Sioux Chief Showdown will bring together the best drivers from the ARCA Menards Series, the ARCA Menards Series East and ARCA Menards Series West, formerly known as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Those events, held on oval tracks 1.25-miles in length and under and road courses, offer drivers who may not be able or eligible to run the full 20-race ARCA Menards Series schedule the opportunity to run for a championship. Combined with the overall ARCA Menards Series championship, and the East and West championships, drivers will have four separate championships to compete for in 2020.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis. Also present was promoter Bob Sargent of Track Enterprises, who announced that the ARCA Menards Series East would compete at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on May 2.

The Tennessean reported this week that the Nashville Fairgrounds was negotiating with Sargent to promote at least three races at the short track in 2020. Sargent’s involvement in the track comes after Nashville’s Fair Board voted to terminate its agreement with Formosa Productions to run the track over outstanding debt.

The ARCA Menards Series has competed at the Fairgrounds the last five seasons. The ARCA Menards Series East, formerly known as the K&N Pro Series East, competed there from 2007-08.

GMS Racing reveals full-time driver-crew chief lineup, number assignments

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GMS Racing has announced its full-time driver-crew chief lineup for the 2020 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series season and number assignments for its trucks:

– Chad Norris has been named crew chief for Brett Moffitt and the No. 23 Chevrolet team. Moffitt drove the No. 24 in his first season with the team. Norris has been with GMS Racing for two years and directed the effort that delivered the team its 2018 Xfinity Series win at Talladega.

– Chad Walter will lead Tyler Ankrum and the No. 26 team. 2020 will be Ankrum’s first season with GMS Racing. Walter served as an engineer for Ankrum this season at DGR-Crosley. Walter has five wins and 42 top fives in 208 Xfinity Series starts as crew chief.

– Kevin “Bono” Manion is paired with Zane Smith on the No. 21 Chevrolet. 2020 will be Smith’s first full-time Trucks season after competing part-time for JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series. Manion has 24 wins as crew chief across all three national series since 2003. He led Martin Truex Jr. to his two Xfinity Series titles.

– Jeff Stankiewicz will remain as the crew chief for the No. 2 team piloted by Sheldon Creed.

Social Roundup: How NASCAR drivers are spending their offseason

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NASCAR’s Champion’s week is now behind us and we are firmly in the offseason.

Well, sort of.

The NASCAR world never really stops, which is evident simply due to the continued announcements for the 2020 season.

But with Joey Logano testing the Next Gen car at Phoenix earlier this week and Dale Earnhardt Jr. helping clean up North Wilkesboro Speedway for iRacing, it’s been anything but quiet.

Here’s a look at what else happened in the NASCAR community this week.

Someone needs to check in on Jimmie Johnson, he could be in his own version of Mr. Mom.

Chris Buescher is home again.

The 2015 Xfinity Series champion is back at Roush Fenway Racing for the 2020 Cup season and he’s got the firesuits and cars to prove it.

Brad Keselowski recently became father to a second daughter.

He’s now learning some important life lessons.

Former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft is now off the market after getting married to his fiance, Jordan. Now they’re on their honeymoon.

 

Matt DiBenedetto showed off one of the perks of being a Wood Brothers Racing employee.

Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace went somewhere warm to start their holiday.

Joey and Caitlin Gase welcome twin sons

Joey Gase
Joey Gase Twitter
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Xfinity Series driver Joey Gase and his wife Caitlin are now parents to twin boys

The babies were born on Wednesday. Their names are Jace and Carson.

More: Brad and Paige Keselowski welcome second daughter