Alex Bowman had a very fast No. 48 car all race long, however a 24th-place starting spot and a pit road penalty kept him out of the conversation for the win for the majority of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway, but on a late-race restart, Bowman made it happen from the third spot to capture his first win of the 2021 season.
How was Bowman able to overcome all of the adversity to straight up pass the two fastest cars at the end of the race?
“Just a badass race car, it’s as simple as that,” Bowman said. “Greg Ives and all of the guys, they’ve got to deal with me at short tracks and I drive these places really wrong. Instead of trying to get me to figure it out, we went to work on getting the race car where I need it to be. Greg has done such an amazing job at making that happen.”
Bowman led just 10 laps, but they were the most important 10 laps of the day — the final ones.
This marks Bowman’s first win of the season and his third-career triumph in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Heading into the final restart, which was set up by Kevin Harvick cutting a tire with 19-laps remaining, Denny Hamlin held the lead over Joey Logano.
Hamlin had led a race-high 207 laps, while Logano had asserted himself as the best car over the last stretch of the race. But neither driver had anything for Bowman who snuck up and pulled off the win.
Christopher Bell finished fourth and Martin Truex Jr. rebounded from a pit road speeding penalty to finish fifth.
Aric Almirola, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto and Austin Dillon rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.