Alex Bowman fractures vertebra in sprint car crash; out 3-4 weeks
Alex Bowman is expected to miss the next three to four weeks after fracturing a vertebra in a sprint car crash Tuesday night, Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday.
Josh Berry will drive the No. 48 for Bowman while he recovers. Berry drove five races for Chase Elliott when Elliott was out after fracturing his left tibia in a snowboarding accident. Berry finished second at Richmond in the No. 9 car.
The Cup Series races at Dover, Kansas and Darlington the next three weeks. The All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway is four weeks away and would be a question of if Bowman would compete in that event. Bowman has six top-10 finishes in 10 races this season.
“We’re relieved Alex is home, in good spirits and getting world-class treatment,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, in a statement from the team. “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.”
Alex Bowman was injured during a High Limit Sprint Car Series event at 34 Raceway, a 3/8 mile semi-banked clay track, in West Burlington, Iowa. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson is among the founders of the High Limit Sprint Car Series.
Bowman made contact with Conner Morrell and both flipped multiple times.
Bowman stated on social media: “First, I want to let everyone know I’m feeling ok. My focus is now on healing and resting. Being out of the car is never an update any driver wants to make. I’m thankful to Josh Berry and Hendrick Motorsports for stepping up to the plate and I know the entire Ally Racing team will give it their all these next few weeks.
“I’ll be doing everything I can at home to help the team and ensure my recovery is as quick as possible to get back in the 48 car soon.”
Bowman has a background in sprint and midget car racing on dirt. In an interview with NBC Sports earlier this month, he explained why he races sprint cars and why he’s racing in the High Limit Series.
“For me, it’s like a way to train outside my comfort zone because a big track in a sprint car, I’m super uncomfortable,” he said.
Asked what he meant, he said: “I just, man, trying to figure it out against the (World of) Outlaws and all the best guys and it’s hard. We don’t go to easy races. I didn’t make it easy on myself. I’m the guy that made the schedule and I made it as hard as possible. ... I think I underestimated how hard it would be probably.
“But I think that continues to fuel me. I want to get better at it. I want to just be able to go places and be competitive. We’re decent here and there. I feel like we can be competitive at short tracks (in a sprint car) right now. Some of them, I feel we’re a bit hit and miss, but for the most part, when we go to small (tracks for sprint cars) we’re pretty decent.
“The big places, I’d like to figure out and get better at. I just want to be able to go to any sprint car race and be competitive. It would be cool to win a 410 (sprint car) race somewhere.”
Asked about how racing a sprint car helps with racing a Cup car, Bowman noted that it helps with his race craft.
“I think it has its pluses and minuses, honestly,” Bowman told NBC Sports earlier this month. “I think anytime you’re in a race car is good. Obviously, I’m learning a lot. Every night is a learning experience in those cars, like big time.”
Bowman called sprint car racing his “golf game,” noting that it allows him to work on racing but get away from the pressures associated with NASCAR’s premier level.
“The bright spots and the learning process, all of that are really good,” Bowman told NBC Sports.