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Alex Bowman wins Auto Club 400

Hendrick driver dominates for 2nd career Cup win
Sunday, March 1, 2020

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Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman
Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy

Alex Bowman dominated the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Cup race in his Hendrick Chevy Sunday. Bowman pulled away to beat the Busch brothers - Kyle and Kurt - by 9-seconds in his #88 Camaro.

Bowman, who was fastest in both Friday practices, powered the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet to a 8.904-second margin of victory, leading 110 of 200 laps in the Auto Club 400. His first win at the 2-mile California track was his second in NASCAR’s top division.

Kyle Busch, a four-time Auto Club winner, drove home second in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. He was just ahead of his brother, Kurt, who took third ahead of Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski in the third points-paying race of the season.

Home-state favorite Jimmie Johnson led three times for 10 laps in his final Auto Club start of his final full-time Cup Series season, but finished seventh. His wife, Chandra, and daughters Genevieve and Lydia were in the flagstand for the initial green flag as ceremonial starters. Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet also led a five-wide salute during pace laps.

Martin Truex Jr. started last after an issue in Saturday’s inspection kept him from posting a qualifying lap. He drove all the way into contention, leading three laps, but trouble with the rear-tire change during a final-stage pit stop knocked his No. 19 Toyota to a 14th-place finish.

Ryan Blaney was in contention for the third straight week, leading 54 laps -- second only to Bowman -- and winning the second stage. But his No. 12 Team Penske Ford was forced to pit road with a tire issue with three laps left. He finished 19th, one lap off the pace.

Clint Bowyer started from the pole position and led the opening 11 laps, but a flat tire on his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford forced a caution flag on Lap 92. He finished 23rd.

Ross Chastain finished 17th in his second race filling in for the injured Ryan Newman in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 Ford.

Quotes

Bowman tears up the Fontana grass
Bowman tears up the Fontana grass
Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy

ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 88 CINCINNATI CAMARO ZL1 1LE - FONTANA RACE WINNER:

NO WORRIES ON THAT RIGHT REAR NOW:

"No, not at all. Greg (Ives, crew chief) said to save it, so I saved some to use some there! How about that California! I grew up quarter midget racing here, maybe 20 minutes from Pomona Valley. Went there every week. Made a lot of great friends there. I know a lot of you are here today. Man so cool for Cincinnati. Seems like every time they are all on the car we run really good. Promised my buddy Aaron we would all get 88 tattoos if we won so I think I have to get a tattoo now. It will be a good time. It's been a lot of fun. Thanks to Greg and all the guys. Greg made a lot of good calls today. We were up front when it counted."

THE SECOND WIN IS ALMOST AS SPECIAL AS THE FIRST BECAUSE IT PROVES THE FIRST WASN'T A FLUKE:

"Yes, for sure. The first one was a real enjoyable experience and then we sucked for six months. We started this year so strong. I feel like I've got a lot on my side that I'm doing better. My life has gotten a lot more organized than it was then. Greg and the guys are just on point. We've unloaded the last two weeks and I don't think we have had to make a change to the race car from the way it came off the truck. That makes my job a lot easier. I'm just so proud of this team. Everyone at Hendrick Motorsports. Hendrick horsepower under the hood. The whole shop back home. They work their butts off. We've put a lot of effort in this new car and it is obviously working out really well."

Results

FinStrNo.DriverTeamLapsBehindStatus
1388Alex BowmanCincinnati Chevrolet200-0.000sRunning
21718Kyle BuschInterstate Batteries Toyota2008.904Running
341Kurt BuschMonster Energy Chevrolet2009.917Running
4139Chase ElliottNAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet20013.705Running
5152Brad KeselowskiAmerica's Tire Ford20017.323Running
62811Denny HamlinFedEx Office Toyota20021.839Running
7248Jimmie JohnsonAlly Chevrolet20022.047Running
8610Aric AlmirolaSmithfield Ford20022.214Running
954Kevin HarvickMobil 1 Ford20022.524Running
102920Erik JonesReeser's Fine Foods Toyota20023.880Running
11198Tyler Reddick #I am Second Chevrolet20028.810Running
12722Joey LoganoAuto Club of So California Ford20029.318Running
131221Matt DiBenedettoMenards/Quaker State Ford20029.892Running
143819Martin Truex JrBass Pro Shops Toyota20032.514Running
152124William ByronAxalta 24 Tribute Chevrolet20033.947Running
161117Chris BuescherFastenal Ford20035.895Running
17276Ross Chastain(i)Castrol Ford20042.709Running
181841Cole Custer #Production Alliance/Haas Ford199-1LRunning
191612Ryan BlaneyBODYARMOR Ford199-1Running
201047Ricky Stenhouse JrKroger Chevrolet199-1Running
21942Kyle LarsonMcDonald's Chevrolet199-1Running
22834Michael McDowellLove's Travel Stops Ford199-1Running
23114Clint BowyerRush/HAAS CNC Ford199-1Running
24253Austin DillonDow Coatings Chevrolet199-1Running
252338John Nemechek #Fire Alarm Services Ford199-1Running
262413Ty DillonGEICO Chevrolet199-1Running
271443Bubba WallaceVictory Junction Chevrolet198-2Running
283196* Daniel SuarezToyota Used Vehicles Toyota198-2Running
292632Corey LaJoiePala Casino Ford197-3Running
302037Ryan PreeceCottonelle Chevrolet197-3Running
313052JJ Yeley(i)JACOB Companies Ford197-3Running
323215Brennan Poole #CHOC Kids Chevrolet195-5Running
333453Joey Gase(i)One Legacy Ford193-7Running
343651Garrett SmithleyChevrolet193-7Running
35350Quin Houff #Victory Weekend Chevrolet192-8Running
363377Reed SorensonSpire Motorsports Chevrolet191-9Running
373766* Timmy Hill(i)LASVEGAS.NET Toyota184-16Running
382295Christopher Bell #Rheem Toyota80-120Engine


# DENOTES ROOKIE
(i) NOT ELIGIBLE FOR POINTS
(*) REQUIRED TO QUALIFY ON TIME

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