Date: June 30, 2019
Event: Camping World 400 (Round 17 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 267 laps, broken into three stages (80 laps/80 laps/107 laps)
Start/Finish: 6th/37th (Brakes, completed 172 of 267 laps)
Point standing: 16th (431 points, 246 out of first)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):
● Started sixth, finished 31st.
● Ran 10 laps before enduring a red-flag period for severe weather that lasted three hours, 18 minutes and 26 seconds.
● Under caution before the race returned to green, Bowyer pitted for four tires and fuel.
● Bowyer restarted in 12th on lap 17 but fell to 22nd after getting caught up in three- and four-wide racing that shuffled him backward.
● “Sliding around back here struggling for speed,” said Bowyer on lap 35.
● Bowyer climbed to 12th by lap 60 as those in front of him began to pit.
● Bowyer brought his No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang into the pits on lap 77 for a quick, fuel-only stop.
● A lap later Bowyer keyed his mic and said, “I’ve got a tire coming apart!” He then spun off turn three on lap 80.
● When the right-rear tire came apart, it ripped away the lower portion of the quarterpanel.
● Bowyer made three separate trips to pit road following the stage to make repairs.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):
● Started 32nd, finished 35th.
● Began the stage two laps down as a result of the flat tire and subsequent repairs.
● Bowyer suffered another flat right-rear tire on lap 94. This sent him to the pits under green-flag conditions.
● Returned to the track on lap 100, six laps down to the leaders.
● A caution on lap 104 allowed Bowyer to bring his No. 14 Toco Warranty Ford Mustang back to the pits for more repairs.
● Rubber buildup in the remnants of the right-rear wheelwell caught fire on lap 159, sending Bowyer back to the pits.
● More work was done on the quarterpanel and all the rubber buildup was removed, allowing Bowyer to continue, albeit 11 laps down.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):
● Started 35th, finished 37th.
● “I think it’s fixing to blow up,” said Bowyer on lap 179. Prior to that message, he asked if smoke could be seen from his car.
● On lap 189, Bowyer keyed his mic and said, “I don’t have any brakes.”
● Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz brought Bowyer to the garage. The series of issues stemming from the flat tires proved terminal.
● Alex Bowman won the Camping World 400 to score his first career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Larson was .546 of a second.
● There were five caution periods for a total of 25 laps.
● Only 17 of the 38 drivers in the Camping World 400 finished on the lead lap.
● Joey Logano remains the championship leader after Chicagoland and holds an 18-point advantage over second-place Kyle Busch.
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 on Saturday, July 6 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!