NASCAR at Chicagoland 2019 Results: Alex Bowman Wins 1st Career RaceJuly 1, 2019
An early rain delay didn't stop Alex Bowman from prevailing at NASCAR's TheHouse.com 400 event from Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.
The victory is the first of Bowman's career after 134 races on the Monster Energy circuit. He moved into the top spot on Lap 170 and looked virtually unstoppable for a brief period. The 26-year-old built up a lead of 3.5 seconds at one point.
Kyle Larson did his best to push Bowman to the limit, even taking the lead with 10 laps to go before relinquishing it for good four laps later.
Here's how the rest of the top 10 looked behind Bowman:
1. Alex Bowman
2. Kyle Larson
3. Joey Logano
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Ryan Blaney
7. Erik Jones
8. William Byron
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Austin Dillon
Full results via NASCAR.com
Here is how the final battle between Bowman and Larson on the 261st lap played out:
After his win, Bowman said he has thought a lot about wanting to capture the checkered flag before this moment.
"I was just tired of running second," Bowman told NBC Sports Network. "I just didn't want to do that anymore. This was the last box I had to check off. This is all I hear, about me not winning a race. Now everybody can stop giving me crap, we finally did it."
Massive rainfall and heavy thunderstorms forced everyone off the track after just 11 laps.
Meteorologist Brian Neudorff questioned NASCAR's decision to start the race when it was scheduled to begin given what was on the horizon:
Brian Neudorff @NASCAR_WXMAN
Radar as if 1:50 pm CDT - I don’t know what NASCAR is doing but if you’re a fan @ChicagolndSpdwy - find shelter now - there are severe warnings & lightning with in 10 miles and the main cells are around 20 miles moves at 35 mph - be safe #NASCAR https://t.co/4ZKEgmGrBf
It turned out to be prophetic because the race was delayed for three hours as a result before resuming at 5:35 p.m. local time.
One benefit of the inclement weather was the change in temperature, with the Associated Press noting it went from 93 degrees when the delay started to 72 when drivers got back on the track.
There was an amusing moment after the race caused by the rain. Bowman, apparently forgetting the infield grass was covered in water, got his car stuck in the mud and needed the assistance of a tow truck to get it out.
"I'm the dumb guy that won the race and then got stuck in the mud," Bowman said on NBC Sports Network.
Denny Hamlin capitalized on car problems for Clint Bowyer and Kyle Busch at the end of the first stage to earn an important playoff point, despite leading just five laps total in the race.
Bowyer was unable to continue in the race after 172 laps when his car appeared to catch fire. This marks the second time in three races that the No. 14 car has finished outside the top 30. He's also fallen to 12th place in the playoff standings.
Kevin Harvick, who started the day in the second position next to pole-sitter Austin Dillon, dominated the field for most of the day with a race-high 132 laps led and won the second stage.
Joey Logano's third-place finish in Chicago was good enough to move him into sole possession of first place in the playoff standings. He has a 643-642 lead over Kyle Busch, whose 22nd-place finish was his second-worst of the season.
After an eventful run for the Monster Energy Cup Series in Chicago, the drivers will return to Daytona International Speedway to race under the lights on Saturday at the Coke Zero Sugar 400.