After a furious final COTA lap that saw Alex Bowman, Ross Chastain, and AJ Allmendinger all battle for an overtime win, all of the NASCAR racers had plenty to say to the media, with Bowman offering up some advice for the vilified Chastain.
During the final lap, Bowman had a front-row seat to the action between Chastain and Allmendinger; so close, in fact, he almost skated through the commotion unscathed for a free win. Bowman and his dinged-up No. 48 Chevy didn’t nab the win, but he did finish second to Chastain after Allmendinger spun out in the gravel.
“I mean, I figured they would get rough and aggressive,” Bowman said on pit of Chastain and Allmendinger. “I tried to race as clean as possible and kind of just let them do their thing and pass both of them. Kind of worked out perfect until the 1 (Chastain) got into the 16 (Allmendinger), and I was along for the ride and limped across the start-finish line on fire.
“So I don’t know, it was a really good day for us, and it’s been a rough weekend for me — a lot going on. Sometimes things outside the race car aren’t great, and it makes the whole weekend even … it should feel good, but it doesn’t. So I’m just ready to get home, see the pups, and move on to next week.”
AJ Allmendinger did not appreciate the spin-out from Chastain
The real drama began, though, when Allmendinger (who finished 33rd after his last lap wreck) implied to media that first-time winner Chastain would “have to look himself in the mirror” after the race, as if the race’s finish had some shame attached to it.
“We know we had a shot to win the race,” Allmendinger also said. “It’s tough to win a Cup race, so when you put yourself in a position to legitimately run up front all day and have a shot to win it, it’s a pretty great day. Unfortunately, we needed about two more corners.”
Alex Bowman gave Ross Chastain some marketing advice after the race
Bowman, who has had to answer for his own late-race antics in the past at Martinsville with Denny Hamlin, made light of the situation. He essentially told Chastain to lean into the light controversy instead of running from it.
“I’ve been on the other side of it, so I have to live with it, right? Like I talked about at Martinsville, I had to live with that,” Bowman said. “Best advice I have for Ross on that is put it on a T-shirt and sell the hell out of ’em.”
In a second interview, Alex Bowman expressed his happiness for his fellow driver and his first-ever Cup Series win.
“I’ve really been trying to do a better job as a race car driver at these road courses and I felt like, from where we started the weekend, I accomplished that,” Bowman said. “I’m proud of Greg and all the guys. I hate that we didn’t come away with a win, but I’m happy for Ross getting his first win.”