Alex Bowman has become the second Cup driver this season to miss a race due to concussion like symptoms.
Hendrick Motorsports announced late Thursday that the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet for the team will be replaced by Noah Gragson for Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. Bowman was one of several drivers who suffered a blown tire during last Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway. He lost a tire on lap 97, hit the wall in Turn 4 but was able to continue. He finished the race in 29th five laps down.
In the statement Thursday the team said Bowman was evaluated by doctors in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier in the day. The result seeming to be that he was not cleared to race Sunday.
Bowman is still in Playoff contention but entered this week’s race below the cutline to advance on points. Talladega is the second race in the second round of the Playoffs, the final one being the Charlotte ROVAL the following week.
Prior to the start of the Playoffs, driver Kurt Busch crashed during qualifying at Pocono Raceway in July. He also suffered concussion like symptoms and has yet to return to competition. Busch was eligible for the Playoffs after winning at Kansas Speedway in May. NASCAR gave him a wavier for the Playoffs, but Busch surrendered his eligibility prior to the start of the Playoffs.
NASCAR later said they would grant if Bowman a waiver for the Playoffs. But missing Talladega, and going into the final race of the second round below the cutoff, means he will have to win at Charlotte’s ROVAL in order to advance to the next round.
“I’m disappointed,” Bowman said in a Twitter post. “But know my health is the number one priority. I am committed to follow all medical guidance to ensure I can return to competition as soon as possible.”
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