NASCAR’s Bowman just keeps running through cars
By DOUG ALDEN
LOUDON, N.H. — Alex Bowman will drive teammate Jimmie Johnson’s spare car Sunday after wrecking his backup in the final practice at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Bowman, one of five drivers already in backups for the Cup race, struck a wall coming out of a turn in Saturday’s practice. Bowman was already in a backup Chevrolet after blowing the drive train in his main car during qualifying Friday.
“We don’t have an issue. We’ve had a run of bad luck — extremely bad luck,” said Jeff Andrews, vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports.
Andrews gave an update in the garage as crews worked to switch Johnson’s car into one for Bowman, and Andrews said the car will be fine for Bowman today. Bowman won his first career Cup race three weeks ago at Chicago.
“It is pretty rare,” Andrews said of having to replace a backup car the day before a race.
Four other drivers will be in backups today. Denny Hamlin wrecked his main Toyota during practice Friday. Ryan Newman also hit the wall during practice Friday and will run his backup Ford.
“I’ve been here quite a few times and never hit the fence, especially there, but it just caught me off guard,” Newman said.
Kyle Larson and William Byron will both be in backup Chevys after bumping the wall during practice Saturday.
Points leader Joey Logano will start eighth in his Team Penske Ford as he goes for his third victory at New Hampshire, which he calls his “home track.”
Logano, from Middletown, Connecticut, said New Hampshire is the first place he saw a Cup Series race and loves racing in front of New England fans.
“There’s nothing like winning at your home track so you really want to make it happen there,” Logano said.
Logano has won twice at New Hampshire and finished in the top 10 the last two races here.
Ryan Blaney’s Ford had the fastest lap in Saturday’s final practice session, averaging 133.572 mph. Toyota drivers had the next two fastest times with Hamlin — in his backup — averaging 133.226 mph and Kyle Busch at 132.739 mph.
Brad Keselowski, who clinched the pole in qualifying Friday, was sixth fastest at 132.591 mph.