TALLADEGA, Ala – If Hendrick Motorsports wants to have a driver into the Round of 8 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, they likely have to bank on their past success at the Kansas Speedway and get either Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott or William Byron into victory lane next Sunday afternoon.
All three were collected in crashes in Monday’s rain delayed 1000Bulbs.com 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway.
The race started off great for them. The HMS camp rolled off 1-2-3-4 after sweeping the first two Rows in qualifying on Saturday. Plus, they took the top two spots in the finishing order on the 2.66-mile track back in April and two of the top three in the July race at Daytona as well.
All signs looked up.
Then, Lap 106 happened.
Alex Bowman admitted his mistake in trying to block Joey Logano who received big drafting help by fellow Ford driver Clint Bowyer on the backstretch and Logano had no where to go when Bowman moved to block his run.
The contact between the two pushed Bowman into the inside lane of Turn 3 and caused his No. 88 Chevrolet to spin back across the banking. That collect nine other drivers, one of which being Chase Elliott and another Jimmie Johnson.
Bowman’s day ended with a 37th place result. His run of three top six finishes in his last four starts was over. He went from +17 in the standings to -18, a 35 point swing.
Elliott, would continue on in his badly damaged No. 9 Chevrolet but only finished eighth. Due to his engine blowing last week in Dover, he went from -7 to -22 as he lost 15 points himself on Monday.
They hold spots nine and 10 in the standings with only eight moving on.
William Byron crashed on Lap 181 ending his day in 33rd. He’s 27 points out now. He was tied for the final spot at -0 coming into the weekend.
35 points lost for Bowman, 27 for Byron and 15 for Elliott. They started 1-2-3 on Sunday and lose that much ground.
Luckily for them, Elliott won the playoff Kansas race last year and has three top four finishes in his last four tries on the 1.5-mile track. Bowman, finished second in the spring race too.
They need to win Sunday or it will be Kyle Larson as the lone Chevy representative into the next round.