We were all waiting for the news and unfortunately, it isn’t what anyone wanted. Alex Bowman is out of the next three NASCAR races. Bowman is still recovering from the concussion he suffered at Texas Motor Speedway just a few weeks ago. Since then, Noah Gragson has filled in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48.
This was the fear, especially after seeing how long Kurt Busch has been out. While Alex Bowman is younger, that car rocked him all the same. It was the worst possible way he could have hit the wall. Now he will miss at least five races total due to the concussion he suffered.
Bowman will miss Las Vegas, Homestead-Miami, and Martinsville in the coming weeks.
Hendrick Motorsports released a statement announcing the decision on Wednesday.
In his own statement, Alex Bowman said, “I am continuing to focus my efforts on getting my health back to 100% so that I can return [to] racing as soon as possible.”
Ultimately, the call came from Dr. Michael “Micky” Collins in Pittsburgh. He is the clinical director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Clearly, someone who knows a thing or two about the injury.
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the entire staff at UPMC,” said president of Hendrick Motorsports, Jeff Andrews. “Our priority continues to be Alex’s recovery and long-term health, and we will follow the plan that Dr. Collins and his team recommend. We’re not looking past the next three races and will evaluate plans for the season finale [at Phoenix] as the event approaches.”
Noah Gragson to Continue Replacing Alex Bowman
Right now, with Alex Bowman out, Hendrick has a pretty good replacement. Noah Gragson is one of the bright young stars in all of stock car racing. What he has done at the Xfinity level is nothing short of impressive. He will be driving in the Cup Series full-time next year and this experience is invaluable.
While he is going to drive No. 42 for Petty GMS, Hendrick won’t mind giving him a little time behind the wheel of some top-line machinery. Ty Gibbs is still in place of Kurt Busch for 23XI and that just means we get a sneak peek at what will be an amazing rookie season next year for both of these drivers.
Of course, that is assuming Gibbs gets a Cup ride. I don’t see any reason why he won’t.
This is a tough time for Alex Bowman. But, after being eliminated from the playoffs there isn’t too much at stake here in 2022. For the 48 driver, it will likely be all eyes on the offseason and heading into 2023.