Alex Bowman has indeed been granted a NASCAR Cup Series playoff waiver after missing three points races with a fractured vertebra.
Alex Bowman hasn’t driven the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in over a month, with his most recent appearance coming at Talladega Superspeedway back on Sunday, April 23. He fractured a vertebra in a sprint car crash the following week and missed a total of four NASCAR Cup Series races as a result of the injury.
Josh Berry, who filled in for Chase Elliott behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet when Elliott was sidelined for six races earlier this season with a fractured tibia, drove the No. 48 Chevrolet in these four races at Dover Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Darlington Raceway, and North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Now Bowman, who was initially expected to miss three to four weeks, is set to return to action in this Sunday evening’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
NASCAR has officially granted Alex Bowman a playoff waiver.
A waiver does not lock Bowman into the playoffs. Because competing in all 26 regular season races is one of the playoff requirements, it simply means that his missed starts will not affect his eligibility. If he still manages to qualify, either by winning a race (or races) or on points, his absence won’t prevent him from being included in the 16-driver field.
Fortunately for Bowman, only three of his four missed starts were points races. Even with those three absences, plus a 60-point penalty earlier in the season, he finds himself in 17th place in the point standings, just five points below the playoff cut line. There are 13 races remaining on the regular season schedule.
NASCAR’s decision to grant Bowman a playoff waiver did not come as a surprise, given their past decisions on waivers when drivers have unexpectedly been forced to miss an extended period of time. They simply didn’t announce it right away because they had no way of knowing how many races Bowman would actually miss.
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