Bowman holds off Larson in overtime in Las Vegas
Las Vegas - Alex Bowman won the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in dramatic fashion by holding off his teammate and 2021 NASCAR Cup Series Campion Kyle Larson after gambling on a late two-tire stop.
This was Bowman's 7th career win and first of 2022. After winning the first stage and leading a race total of 16 laps, Bowman hung around the top 10 for the majority of the race and closed in on the top 5 just before the final caution came out on lap 266 sending the race to overtime. Running fourth at the time of the caution, Bowman got the call from his crew chief, Greg Ives that they'd be taking two tires for their final pit stop of the day,
I was really surprised [two tires worked]. On the front row there, you have to run so much throttle. We had been free on the short run, pretty good on the long run. I mean, I kind of feel like I know. Obviously, a lot has changed with this race car, but typically two tires tighten you up a ton. We were on old tires earlier in the day, like cold old tires. When we had the pit road issue, we came back and put old tires on. I was super tight the whole run. I was worried we were going to be super tight. On the front row, you got to drive it like it’s going to stick. Thankfully it stuck.
When asked what was going through his head when Ives made the two-tire call, Bowman said,
...it’s somewhat similar to I guess two years ago here. We were the fastest car by a lot at the end. Ran down Blaney. We were probably going to get him, at least it was going to be a great race. The caution came out with a couple to go. We pitted. A bunch of people stayed out. We didn’t finish well at all. I was just like, 'Man, same scenario all over again.' But today so many people pitted – everybody pitted. It ended up working out for us. Obviously taking two got us on the front row. That’s why Greg gets paid the big bucks. I left the call up to him and he made the right call.
Fourth-place finisher Kyle Busch was in position to win after a hard-fought battle with teammate and New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. When asked about the battle between teammates, Busch said,
...Trying to just do what I could to hold the lead there with Truex. Felt like I inched away finally, we were coming to the white. I don’t know what it was. But anyways, wasn’t meant to be, not our day, see you next week.
However, Busch wasn't too happy with Bowman's win according to The Athletic reporter Jeff Gluck. According to Gluck, Busch said,
The same f*****g guy who backs into every f*****g win that he ever f*****g gets backs into another f*****g win. B******t!
Ross Chastain led a race-high 83 laps and won the second stage. Chastain finished the Pennzoil 400 in third place, a season-best for the driver.
[It's a] dream come true. This is what all the work is for. This is why we train, done our whole lives and careers, once we realize we can race at this level is to have race cars like that. Couldn’t be more proud of Trackhouse, having ACM on the car, be able to go over and hang out now tomorrow night. It took a lot of patience inside the car from our fast racing. It’s tough for me to not get too aggressive, a lot of neutral thinking, and Josh Wise, and a book by Trevor Moawad really helped me today. That’s progress.
See the full standings here.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 13th at 3:30 Eastern.