The driver of the No. 48 announced the news on September 29. He issued a statement on social media and confirmed that he will not compete in the playoff race after meeting with his physicians in Charlotte. Noah Gragson will take over the No. 48 Chevrolet as his replacement.
“After undergoing medical evaluation due to concussion-like symptoms, I will not be driving the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in Talladega,” Bowman wrote. “I’m disappointed but know my health is the number one priority. I am committed to follow all medical guidance to ensure I can return to competition as soon as possible.”
Bowman Crashed at Texas Motor Speedway
The concussion-like symptoms stem from an incident at Texas Motor Speedway. Bowman crashed at the end of Stage 1 after losing control of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro. He was able to continue, but he finished the race five laps down.
There were no signs that Bowman would crash. He was running in the eighth position when the No. 48 just snapped loose on him. He backed the stock car into the wall and then the right front collided as well.
“I don’t understand how this thing is still rolling,” Bowman said over the radio after hitting the wall. “That’s the hardest I’ve crashed anything in my entire life.”
The collision did not appear to be as violent from an outside perspective, but it bore similarities to Kurt Busch’s crash during qualifying at Pocono Raceway. He backed the No. 45 Toyota into the wall in what appeared to be an innocuous crash, but he has since missed every Cup Series race due to his own concussion-like symptoms.
The Next Gen Cars Need Some Work
With Bowman missing the race at Texas Motor Speedway, he now becomes the latest driver dealing with some worrisome aftereffects of a Next Gen crash. He also puts even more emphasis on the work that remains to be done before the 2023 season.
There are several drivers that have openly discussed hits in the Next Gen era and how they feel much worse due to the stiffness of the cars. This list includes Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, and Kevin Harvick, who said earlier in the week that he was doing red light therapy to help with the soreness from his own hard hit at Texas Motor Speedway.
Gragson, who will replace Bowman in the No. 48, also made some comments of his own while running a part-time schedule. He said that he didn’t want to finish out his scheduled races because of these hits. Though he will since the team already sold sponsorship.
There are changes that must take place before the 2023 season. The Next Gen car has improved certain things, such as the action on the intermediate tracks, but the safety concerns are far more important.
“NASCAR is working on the car,” Richard Childress Racing’s Andy Petree told media members on September 29, video courtesy of Matt Weaver. “I see some future design changes that are hopefully going to address some of the things that the drivers say about some of the impacts. And maybe, you know, soon we can make the car a little better.”