NASCAR playoff drivers in trouble: Dark horse – Alex Bowman
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The fact that Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman sits just three points above the playoff cut line in 16th place in the point standings does not do his season justice.
He is there despite the fact that he was docked 60 points after a greenhouse violation was discovered on his No. 48 Chevrolet after the race at Richmond Raceway, as well as the fact that he missed three races with a fractured vertebra he suffered in a sprint car crash.
If he had competed in all 16 races, his average points per race tally would have him sitting in eighth place in the point standings, well above the cut line, as the third highest of six non-winners above that cutoff.
However, “what if” means absolutely nothing when it comes to getting into the playoffs. The fact is, Bowman is the driver on the bubble with 10 races remaining in the regular season, making him the one most vulnerable drivers if an upset winner — or multiple upset winners — emerge.
Bowman himself can solve everything by winning, but he hasn’t won since March 2022. Despite the fact that he has posted solid results in his starts this year, he also hasn’t been nearly the frontrunner that teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson have been, leading only 47 laps in 13 races. Byron and Larson have led 717 and 588 laps, respectively, to lead the series.
Among the six drivers listed in this article, Bowman and Chase Elliott are the only two with active playoff streaks of more than one season. Like Elliott, Bowman has qualified for the playoffs every year since joining Hendrick Motorsports full-time. He has also been to the round of 12 in every one of his five playoff appearances.
Which of these six playoff drivers will end up in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs? How many of them will fail to qualify for the postseason?