The time has come for Alex Bowman to make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series after recovering from a fractured vertebra. He will take over the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro once again while battling for a Crown Jewel win.
According to a press release from Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman will make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series for the race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He will compete in the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, while trying to push for a playoff spot.
The news of the return comes after Bowman completed a NASCAR-approved medical evaluation test at North Wilkesboro Speedway. He completed 170 laps around the short track in a Cup Series car.
“It’s a boost for all of us to have Alex return to the No. 48 car this weekend at our home track,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “He’s still 17th in points, which says a lot about how well the team performed at the start of the year.
“Alex has worked hard to rehab the injury and come back strong, and I look for him to continue having a championship-caliber season.”
Hendrick Motorsports Applied for a Playoff Waiver
With Bowman making his return to the Cup Series, the focus now turns to the final 10 weeks on the schedule. Will he be able to compete in the playoffs after missing three points-paying events and the All-Star Race?
NASCAR has provided one side of the answer. Hendrick Motorsports has received a waiver, which will keep Bowman eligible for the playoffs if he can score a win or put himself above the cutline.
There are 13 races remaining in the regular season, which Bowman will use to pursue this goal. He is 17th in the playoff standings, and he is five points behind Chase Briscoe.
Prior to sustaining the injury, Bowman had the best average finish in the Cup Series (10.3). He had six top-10 finishes and three top-fives in the first 10 races, headlined by a pair of third-place finishes at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Circuit of the Americas.
The No. 48 Remains in Contention in Another Playoff Battle
With Bowman out of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro, he was unable to add driver points to his total. However, substitute driver Josh Berry was able to keep the entry in the battle for the owners’ playoffs.
Berry made three points-paying starts in the No. 48 Chevrolet. He finished 10th at Dover Motor Speedway, 25th at Kansas Speedway, and 30th at Darlington Raceway. This moved the No. 48 Chevrolet to 16th in the owner standings with 316 points. The entry is nine points behind the No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
Along with adding some points to the entry’s total, Berry also used it to win an exhibition event. He captured the All-Star Open, which secured a spot in the main All-Star Race. He then finished 15th while teammate Kyle Larson won the $1 million.
“Josh is an absolute pro,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “His talent and hard work allowed the team to continue operating at a high level while Alex recovered.
“We can’t say enough about the great job he did under some challenging circumstances. We’re grateful to Josh and our partners at JRM for their support.”