Motorsport News

Questions Answered After Alex Bowman Beats the Clock and the Field in Chicago

2024 Cup Chicago street pack racing VIII - Alex Bowman, No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet (Credit: NKP)

Who… should you be talking about after the race?

Being the lone driver in NASCAR’s most successful organization without a win has to put a little pressure on a driver, but Alex Bowman no longer feels it after he and the No. 48 team read a wet track, a slower car in front of them and a ticking clock perfectly on Sunday, racing darkness to win the Grant Park 165 on the Streets of Chicago course.

NASCAR’s new rules for impending darkness played out for the first time after a rain delay in Chicago. 

Teams knew when the clock would run out on the race, and that helped Bowman’s team make the tire call that would win the race over a charging Tyler Reddick. The win is the eighth of Bowman’s career and first of 2024. He’s now the 12th winner of the season and locked into the playoffs. It’s also the first career win for crew chief Blake Harris.

And don’t forget Joey Hand. The road course specialist led nine laps in his eighth Cup Series start and won the second stage before finishing fourth in a third car for RFK Racing. Hand, making his first start since 2022, was by far the best finisher for RFK on Sunday.

What… is the big question leaving this race in the rearview?

For the second year in a row in Chicago and the fourth week in a row this season, rain played a role in how the race played out.

Wet-weather tires allowed the race to run, but like last month at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, despite the novelty, it probably wasn’t the same race fans would have seen had the track stayed dry … and both races would likely have stayed dry had they started earlier.

Does that mean it’s time for NASCAR to go to earlier start times?

It’s past time, actually. While earlier starts wouldn’t end all weather problems, it’s hard to argue that a lot of races in recent years since 3:30 p.m. and later (Eastern) starts haven’t been affected by weather (and/or darkness as a result of weather delays). And many of them would have been avoided if the races had started at 1 p.m. ET. Races started at or around that time for decades with no issues.

Maybe there was a reason for that.

Where… did the other key players wind up? 

Pole winner Kyle Larson gave up the lead at the green flag but lurked close enough throughout the first stage to stalk the lead. After the rain delay, though, Larson was just a little too hot on a wet track and slid…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at …