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Alex Bowman Rides Two Tire Strategy to Stage 1 Win in Coca-Cola 600

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 24: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Patriotic Chevrolet, sits in his car on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2020 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Has anyone been hotter in the NASCAR Cup Series than Alex Bowman this season? Bowman won at Auto Club Speedway earlier in the season — his second-career NASCAR Cup Series victory — and he finished second in NASCAR’s big return at Darlington last Sunday.

In Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives rolled the dice and took just two tires late in Stage 1, in an effort to gain track position. The strategy paid off as Bowman inherited the lead, and he wouldn’t relinquish it the rest of the way.

Martin Truex Jr. would finish second in Stage 1, while Chase Elliott, Tyler Reddick and Joey Logano made up the top-five.

Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-10 in Stage 1 and also scored Staged points.

The opening Stage was wild.

Before the race even began, Denny Hamlin had a ballast fly off of his car, which forced him to pit road for the opening eight laps of the event.

Video: Denny Hamlin Loses Eight Laps After Dropping Tungsten Ballast During Pace Laps

Hamlin ended the Stage in 40th, eight laps off the pace.

Rain halted the action at the mid-way point of the 100-lap opening Stage, but after a delay of just over an hour things got back underway.

Toward the end of the Stage, Christopher Bell had an incredible save after contact from Ryan Blaney.

Video: How Did Christopher Bell Not Crash?

Bell would end the Stage in 28th, but the fact he still has a car that is intact is super impressive.

The Stage ended with a fiery crash from Clint Bowyer, who actually crossed the line in 12th to end the Stage.

Video: Clint Bowyer Takes Hellacious Hit to Turn No. 2 Wall at Charlotte

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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