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Alex Bowman Drives to DAYTONA 500 Runner-Up

Alex Bowman was so close to winning his first DAYTONA 500 on Monday evening. (Photo: Cornnell Chu | The Podium Finish)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Alex Bowman may be pondering the “what if” scenario had Monday evening’s DAYTONA 500 finished under green flag conditions.

Running in the second position coming to the final lap, Bowman drew nearly alongside William Byron, his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, to challenge for the win. However, the race went under caution for an incident involving Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain spinning just past the start/finish line near the leaders.

When the race was under caution conditions, Byron was just ahead of Bowman as seen in an aerial still frame from the FOX NASCAR telecast. Instead of potentially winning “The Great American Race,” the 30-year-old Tucson native finished runner-up and tallied his second consecutive top five result in the 500-mile season opener.

All things considered, Bowman, who started seventh, had a competitive race, placing fourth in Stage 1 and 18th in Stage 2. For what it is worth, the seven-time Cup race winner looked more like consistent, frontrunner who led the points standings early last year with his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team.

Along with a third place result in Thursday night’s Bluegreen Vacations Duel No. 1, tallying eight stage points, Bowman left Daytona with 50 points, good enough to rank second in the championship standings and four markers behind Byron, the points leader and 2024 DAYTONA 500 champion.

Alex Bowman applied the spurs to his No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 to a strong runner-up in the DAYTONA 500. (Photo: Cornnell Chu | The Podium Finish)

Upon reflection of the bittersweet result, Bowman tipped his cap to his 26-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, teammate.

“Proud of William (Byron) and his team – they deserved it there at the end,” Bowman said. “They did all the right things, and I feel like we did too there at the end. Had to go up and block the top lane and that just killed the middle for a bit. We got the middle back rolling and then they all started crashing.”

Particularly, Bowman was one of 23 drivers involved in “The Big One” on Lap 192 in Turn 3. Then again, compared to seven of the 23 collected in the multi-car accident, Bowman was able to press on with a relatively in tact car ready to battle for the win.

Altogether, Bowman was elated with his team’s execution, particularly with the great calls by crew chief Blake Harris. For a driver like Bowman, who had a maddening 2023 season, leaving Daytona with 50 points and a car that looked shipshape and Bristol fashion is like a win.

Likewise, Bowman considered his great performance and result with his organization’s special milestone falling on race evening at Daytona.

“Just proud of everybody on this No. 48 Ally Chevy team,” he said. “Super pumped for everybody at Hendrick Motorsports – it’s 40 years to the day since the first HMS race, so really cool to see William in Victory Lane, and obviously a good day for our Ally Camaro, as well.”

Rob Tiongson is a sports writer and editor originally from the Boston area and resides in the Austin, Texas, area. Tiongson has covered motorsports series like NASCAR and INDYCAR since 2008 and NHRA since 2013. Most recently, Tiongson is covering professional basketball, mainly the WNBA, and women's college basketball. While writing and editing for The Podium Finish, Tiongson currently seeks for a long-term sportswriting and sports content creating career. Tiongson enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson is an alum of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and St. Bonaventure University's renowned Jandoli School of Communication with a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism.

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