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Alex Bowman Cleared to Return to NASCAR Cup Series for Coca-Cola 600

Alex Bowman will return to competition in the NASCAR Cup Series, after sitting out three weeks due to a fractured vertebrae. PC: Jonathan McCoy |

After missing the last three points-paying events in the NASCAR Cup Series, Alex Bowman is set to return to the driver’s seat of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Bowman, who suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car accident on April 25, drove 170 laps around North Wilkesboro Speedway on Tuesday, as part of a NASCAR-approved medical evaluation test.

Despite missing events at Dover, Kansas, and Darlington, Bowman has maintained a position of 17th in the NASCAR Cup Series playoff standings and enters Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 just five points below the cutline.

“It’s a boost for all of us to have Alex return to the No. 48 car this weekend at our home track,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “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.”

Josh Berry, who competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports, has served as the interim driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro in Bowman’s absence, scoring a top-10 finish at Dover Motor Speedway, and a 15th-place result in the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro.

“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.”

Per Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR has granted Bowman’s request for the playoff waiver, meaning he will remain eligible for the post-season, should he visit victory lane in 2023, or be among the drivers scoring enough points to get in.

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