Alex Bowman suffers broken vertebra in sprint car race, will miss races starting at Dover

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 11: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Best Friends Chevrolet, looks on during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series United Rentals Work United 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 11, 2023 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Josh Berry will be a substitute in the NASCAR Cup series once again starting this weekend as another Hendrick Motorsports driver has suffered an injury away from NASCAR that will sideline them for several weeks.

The team announced Wednesday that Alex Bowman suffered a compression fracture of his vertebra in an accident Tuesday evening while competing in a sprint car event at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. The team said the 30-year-old driver was treated locally Tuesday night and evaluated again Wednesday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Bowman missed five races in 2022 after suffering concussion like symptoms after an accident during the NASCAR Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in September last season. He was able to return for the season finale in his hometown of Phoenix in November.  Noah Gragson who was racing for the Hendrick affiliated JR Motorsports team in the Xfinity series, served as a substitute for Bowman during his absence.

This time Berry will return to a substitute role after he substituted for Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott in five Cup events with a best finish of second on April 2 at Richmond Raceway. The Hendersonville, Tennessee, native competes full-time for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, where he has five career wins. Sports car racer Jordan Taylor raced the car on the road course at COTA.

“We’re relieved Alex is home, in good spirits and getting world-class treatment,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “Giving him ample time and the foremost resources to heal is our top priority. He’s having a tremendous season, and the No. 48 is at the top of its game. We know what Josh is capable of in the race car and that Blake (Harris, crew chief) and the team will continue operating at a high level until Alex is ready to return. He has our full, unequivocal support.”

Elliott broke his leg in a snowboarding accident prior to the race in Las Vegas; he returned to racing at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago.

As they did with Elliott, the team said they will request a medical waiver to allow Bowman to remain eligible for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Through 10 races so far this season. Bowman has three top five, and six top-10 finishes along with 2 poles.


Greg Engle