Bowman out for ROVAL, Gragson to sub once again

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - MAY 21: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, walks the grid during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway on May 21, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman will not compete in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL due to continued concussion symptoms the team announced Tuesday.

The team said Bowman was evaluated by physicians Tuesday afternoon in Charlotte. The ROVAL will mark the second consecutive event he will miss due to the injury, which was suffered in a Sept. 25 accident at Texas Motor Speedway.

“Alex’s health is our first priority,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re focused on supporting his recovery and seeing him back in his race car when the time is right. Alex has a long career ahead of him, so we will invest the necessary time and take our guidance from medical experts. We’re putting no pressure on him to return before he’s 100% ready.”

Noah Gragson, 24, will again be the substitute driver for Bowman. The Las Vegas native qualified seventh and finished 19th in the No. 48 Chevrolet on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

Alex Bowman to sit out Talladega with ‘concussion like symptoms’ after Texas crash

Bowman is the second Cup driver this season to miss a race due to concussion like symptoms. He was one of several drivers who suffered a blown tire during the Cup series 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.

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 the ROVALL, the final race of the second round, will mean that Bowman’s run in the Playoffs will end.

“I am continuing to make strides in my recovery to make sure I can return to competition at 100%.” Bowman said in part on social media.

Charlotte will be Gragson’s first career road course start at the Cup level. He has finished in the top 10 in 17 of his 20 NASCAR Xfinity Series road races, including all three ROVAL appearances.