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Alex Bowman wins rain-shortened Chicago Street Race, ending 80-race winless streak

CHICAGO — Alex Bowman won the rain-shortened Chicago Street Race, snatching the lead from sports car ace Joey Hand and holding off Tyler Reddick for the victory.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver ended an 80-race winless streak while qualifying for the 2024 Cup Series playoffs in his No. 48 Chevrolet.

During the cooldown lap after his eighth career victory, Bowman was knocked into the wall by the No. 23 Toyota of Bubba Wallace, who finished 13th after getting punted by Bowman.

The race ended on Lap 58 of a scheduled 75 because of darkness.

“First off, I have to apologize again to the 23 guys,” Bowman told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Just messed up, trying to get my windshield wiper on, missed a corner and ruined their day. So I hate that. I’m still embarrassed about it, but we have a trophy to take home, and I know it means a lot to this team. They put me in position to win the race.”

It was the first victory for Bowman since March 6, 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He would miss five races later that season with a brain injury from a crash and then missed three races last year with a broken back.

“Man, I broke my back, had a brain injury, and we’ve kind of sucked ever since,” Bowman said. “You start to second-guess if you’re ever going to get a chance to win a race again.

“Last one we won, we didn’t really get to celebrate. We’re going to drink so much damn bourbon tonight, it’s going to be a bad deal. I’m probably going to wake up naked on the bathroom floor again. That’s just part of this deal sometimes. ... It’s going to be a good night.”

Reddick, whose No. 45 Toyota was on slick tires, charged from 13th to second in the last five laps but came up 2.863 seconds short of Bowman (who was on slick tires) after making a mistake and hitting the wall on the last lap.

We were catching Alex by a large margin there, I don’t know, that puzzles me,” Reddick told NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman. “I clearly just screwed up. Trying to stay in the dry groove, and I had more than enough of dry groove, as I’m seeing right behind you. I cut the wheel a little too hard.

“Just not focused enough. I knew I was going to get to him. I knew the earlier I could get to him the more options I was going to have. It was going to get a little bit more slick off line beyond Turn 8. Yeah, just didn’t even give ourselves a shot to race him, unfortunately, with that. Hate it. Not what this Jordan Brand Toyota Camry is about, that’s not what this team is about. We’ve got to start capitalizing and getting these wins.”

Alex Bowman becomes the 12th driver to lock into a Cup Series playoff spot this season.

Ty Gibbs finished third, followed by Hand (the winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans endurance races was in a Roush Fenway Keselowski Ford and Michael McDowell.

Ricky Stenouse Jr., Todd Gillland, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10.

Bowman took the lead from Hand with pass into Turn 4 on Lap 51 of a race that took more than four hours to complete and ended in the Windy City dusk for the second consecutive year.

A light rain began to fall just before the green flag that had been scheduled for 4 p.m. CT.

NASCAR allowed teams to choose between starting the race on dry (slick) or wet tires, and several elected for the latter, but those on slicks benefited as the track remained in relatively decent conditions through the end of Stage 1.

But the rain began to intensify early in Stage 2, and the downpour forced NASCAR to throw the red flag on Lap 26 during a caution for a crash by Chase Briscoe as the 12-turn, 2.2-mile layout increasingly became unraceable.

The race was stopped for one hour and 43 minutes. NASCAR also announced that if the full distance wasn’t reached by 8:20 p.m. CT, the next lap would be the white flag.

The Kiwi will be unable to repeat after winning in his NASCAR Cup debut a year ago.

Kyle Larson started from the pole position but was passed by Gibbs on the opening lap. Larson then was involved in the race’s first major incident after the red flag. His No. 5 Chevrolet slammed hard into the Turn 6 barrier after Larson locked his brakes on the slick track.

“As soon as I hit the brakes, it was not slowing down,” Larson said. “It smashed the car up pretty good. It’s just unfortunate. I’m bummed. It just caught me off guard. You push the brake zones a little bit more each lap as you’re getting more comfortable, but it just surprised me.”

Prerace favorite Shane van Gisbergen led nine laps and won Stage 1 but was eliminated after getting caught in Briscoe’s crash on Lap 25. After winning last year’s race in his NASCAR Cup Series debut, van Gisbergen finished last in Year 2 of the Chicago Street Race.

Stage 1 winner: Shane van Gisbergen

Stage 2 winner: Joey Hand


Next: The series will race July 14 at Pocono Raceway (2:30 p.m. ET on USA)