By Nicholas Sterling
After last year’s win at Chicagoland, many wondered if Alex Bowman was becoming a star or if his victory was just a one-time occurrence. Now, everyone can stop wondering.
Bowman completed a dominant weekend by leading 110 of the 200 laps to earn his second career victory and first at Auto Club Speedway.
Bowman was fastest in both practices and qualified third for the race. He ran up in the top two the majority of the day, winning stage one and finishing second in stage two.
It seemed the only other car that came close to competing with him was stage two winner Ryan Blaney. Blaney saw his great finish run out of the air as he had to pit from second with three laps to go, finishing a dismal 19th. His car was colored in purple and gold in honor of the late Kobe Bryant.
The Busch brothers of Kyle and Kurt finished second and third, respectively. Bowman and Kurt Busch were just one of many drivers to lead the resurgent of Chevys’ in 2020. After consistently being the worst manufacture in 2018 and 2019, the Chevys’ have come to play in 2020 as they currently lead the manufacture standings.
The biggest storyline before the race was the seven-time Jimmie Johnson competition in his final race at his hometown track. He’s one there six times including his first career victory back in 2002. Johnson led the field on the pace laps as the cars did their annual five-wide salute to the fans. Johnson’s wife and two daughters waved the green flag to start the race. He ran in the top five all day before fading to seventh.
There were only two incidents in the race with one resulting in a caution. Kyle Larson got a big bump from Denny Hamlin, turning Larson’s cars sideways and into the wall. After falling two laps down, Larson was able to get back on the lead lap but could only manage a 20th place finish. The other incident was for Clint Bowyer’s flat tire.
The west coast swing concludes at Phoenix Raceway. Teams will be looking to get a good understanding of the track as it serves as this year’s finale. The race is Sunday, March 8 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.