On Wednesday afternoon, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Alex Bowman, the driver of the team's No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro in the NASCAR Cup Series, will miss the next 3-4 weeks due to a fractured vertebra.
Bowman, 30, sustained the compression fracture in a crash with Conner Morrell in Tuesday evening's High Limit Racing Series event at 34 Raceway in Iowa.
The Arizona native, according to a press release from Hendrick Motorsports, was treated locally on Tuesday night and re-evaluated Wednesday morning in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Josh Berry, who served as the fill-in driver for Chase Elliott in five of the six events that Elliott missed earlier this season, will serve in the same capacity for Bowman as he heals from his injury.
“We’re relieved Alex is home, in good spirits and getting world-class treatment,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports in the team release. “Giving him ample time and the foremost resources to heal is our top priority. He’s having a tremendous season, and the No. 48 is at the top of its game. We know what Josh is capable of in the race car and that Blake (Harris, crew chief) and the team will continue operating at a high level until Alex is ready to return. He has our full, unequivocal support.”
Bowman also issued a statement of his own following the news of his injury becoming public.
“Last night I was involved in an on-track incident while racing and fractured a vertebra," Bowman said in the statement. “First, I want to let everyone know I’m feeling ok. My focus is now on healing and resting. Being out of the car is never an update any driver wants to make. I’m thankful for Josh Berry and Hendrick Motorsports for stepping up to the plate and I know the entire Ally Racing team will give it their all these next few weeks.
“I’ll be doing everything I can at home to help the team and ensure my recovery is as quick as possible to get back in the 48 car soon.”
Bowman had been enjoying the best start to a season of his NASCAR Cup Series career, as he had the best average finish of any driver in the NASCAR Cup Series through the opening 10 races of the 2023 season.
The racer and the No. 48 team had recorded three top-five finishes and six top-10s this season, and despite a 60-point penalty incurred after Richmond Raceway, Bowman still ranked ninth in the NASCAR Cup Series championship standings.
Berry scored a best finish of second while filling in for Elliott earlier this year, so he should be able to keep the No. 48 team in the running for the NASCAR Cup Series owner championship.
Bowman would need to receive a medical waiver from NASCAR upon return in order to continue being eligible for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs.
Photo Credit: Will Bellamy / Racing America