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Alex Bowman Clinches Unlikely Victory in Grant Park 165 on Chicago Street Course

For the first time since March 2022, Alex Bowman returns to NASCAR Cup Series Victory Lane, winning Sunday's Grant Park 165 in Chicago.


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For the second consecutive year, the Chicago Street Course did not disappoint.

Alex Bowman was able to snap an 80-race winless streak in the NASCAR Cup Series, after extracting every last ounce from his wet-weather tires in the final laps of the Grant Park 165. To snap that streak, though, Bowman had to remain consistent as a flock of drivers on slick tires quickly made up time.

Luckily for the 31-year-old driver, time was of the essence for those closing in, and the countdown clock -- counting down the seconds before NASCAR would provide the two-to-go signal, due to darkness -- struck zero as Bowman maintained a sizeable gap.

Bowman made what ended up being the pass for the victory with eight laps to go, making a quick move on road racing veteran Joey Hand to set sail on the pack of hungry drivers behind him, sporting an assortment of wet-weather and slick tires.

But, when crossing under the white flag, the race was in jeopardy for Bowman, as Tyler Reddick managed to use his slick tires to put together a masterful charge on the leader, lapping around the 2.14-mile street course almost three seconds quicker, and putting himself within that range.

Reddick looked poised to at least get there, but made contact with the inside wall at Turn 4, leaving the Corning, California native to lift while also sustaining damage to his No. 45. That would be the end of the hopes for the 23XI Racing driver, allowing Bowman to cruise away.

It's the eighth NASCAR Cup Series win of Bowman's career, and the first since March 2022 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It's been a long time coming for Bowman, who has battled a concussion and a back injury in the last two seasons to finally return to the winner's circle.

"Man, I broke my back, had a brain injury, and we've kind of sucked ever since, and I didn't -- you start to second-guess if you're ever going to get a chance to win a race again," said Bowman post-race. "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."

Tyler Reddick still managed to hold the runner-up spot in Sunday's 58-lap contest, while Ty Gibbs finished third after leading a race-high 17 laps. Both drivers were on slick tires, and mounting a charge to try and score the victory.

Joey Hand was on the same strategy as Bowman but slid back to fourth place in the No. 60 Ford Mustang for RFK Racing, still earning a career-best finish. Michael McDowell rounded out the top five for Front Row Motorsports.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr used the wet-weather tire strategy to finish in sixth place, while Todd Gilliland, William Byron, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Blaney were all successful in securing top-10 finishes.

In a fashion seemingly typical of Christopher Bell's season, the No. 20 was in contention for the victory, being the first driver on slicks. However, as the laps wound down, contact between Martin Truex, Brad Keselowski, and a heap of others, sent the No. 20 sideways and broke something on his racecar.

Kyle Larson and Shane Van Gisbergen were arguably the two favorites to win Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series event on the streets of Chicago, but surprisingly both ran into issues in the middle portions of the event, coming home in 39th and 40th.

Despite the poor finish, Larson remains the regular-season points leader, holding an 11-point advantage over Chase Elliott. Tyler Reddick sits third, only 23 points behind, with Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr. rounding out the top five.

Next for the NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Pocono Raceway, which will take place next Sunday, July 14.

Photo Credit: Tyson Gifford, TobyChristie.com

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