Alex Bowman steals win from Denny Hamlin at Richmond
For the third race in a row, Denny Hamlin was denied a win.
On Sunday at Richmond Raceway, it was Alex Bowman’s turn.
Off the race’s final restart with 12 laps to go, Bowman passed Logano for second and then took the lead from Hamlin with 10 laps to go on the way to his first win of the season.
“To be honest with you, we were terrible on short runs, so we restarted third and I was like, ‘Man, if we can get out of here with a solid top five, we’ll be good,’” Bowman told Fox Sports.
“We overcame a lot today. I don’t know if (crew chief) Greg (Ives) pumped the (tire) pressures way up or what he did, but that was more grip than I’ve ever had in a race car at Richmond. It worked out really well.”
Bowman, who overcame a pit road penalty for an uncontrolled tire during the Stage 2 break, snapped a 23-race winless streak for Hendrick Motorsports at Richmond. It’s the organization’s first win at the 3/4-mile short track since Jimmie Johnson won in September 2008.
As for Hamlin, he was forced to settle for second after leading a race-high 207 laps.
Coming off Kevin Harvick’s crash with 20 laps to go, Hamlin beat Logano out of pit road under the caution to take the lead. But Hamlin was unable to hold on.
The regular season points leader remains winless in 2021.
“We just didn’t take off quite as good there at the end,” Hamlin told Fox Sports. “I tried to warm it up and do everything that I could – just the 48 (Alex Bowman) had a little more on those last few laps and I couldn’t hold the bottom. Once he got the position, we were just shut down there.”
Logano went on to finish third, followed by Christopher Bell in fourth and Martin Truex Jr. in fifth.
Truex led 107 laps, but his hopes for a win were undone by a pit road penalty for speeding during green flag stops just before Lap 300.
STAGE 1 WINNER: Denny Hamlin
STAGE 2 WINNER: Denny Hamlin
WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: After starting the season with three DNFs and six finishes of 20th or worse in the first eight races, Aric Almirola’s sixth-place finish was much needed for him and his No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing team. ... Matt DiBenedetto also earned his first top 10 of the season, finishing ninth.
WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Poor handling plagued Kyle Larson throughout the day and relegated him to a 18th-place finish. ... Harvick was running eighth when he had his crash with 20 laps to go following a tire failure. He soldiered on and finished 24th.
NOTABLE: Bowman’s win was the first for the No. 48 car since Johnson’s 83rd and final Cup win in June 2017 at Dover International Speedway. It comes on the day Johnson made his NTT IndyCar Series debut.
NEXT: The series races April 25 at Talladega Superspeedway (2 p.m. ET, Fox).