RAB Racing and the No. 99 ToyotaCare Camry driven by Alex Bowman came into the Iowa Speedway looking for redemption after a top 10 run at the track in June was cut short by an incident. A track where Bowman had raced a USAC midget, visited victory lane in the ARCA Series, and now racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
On track activity began on Friday with two sessions of practice for Bowman and the No. 99, the team picked up where they left off from the June race and recorded the 5th fastest lap in the first session, and the 4th fastest lap in the second session. This raw speed right off the trailer transferred into qualifying on Saturday, Bowman recorded the 3rd fastest lap at an average speed of 134.823, only six one-thousands of a second off of the pole.
Throughout the U.S. Cellular 250, Bowman and the No. 99 ran solidly in the top 10 with consistency on the track and consistency in their pit stops. Crew chief Chris Rice adjusted the car throughout the night with changing track temperatures and conditions. Initially fighting a loose race car in the early laps, then as the track cooled and the sun set a tight race car, and in the closing laps the team battled a loose race car once again. With only 22 laps to go the caution flag flew and Chris Rice made the bold call to come into the pits and get four fresh tires for the end of the race. That call paid off as Bowman restarted in the 13th position and quickly moved through the field in the closing laps to finish in the 7th position. The top 10 finish was the team’s third top 10 in the past six races, and the 11th top 15 finish of the 20 race season.
Alex Bowman: What a great night here at Iowa Speedway, a track where I love coming to as it offers itself to a lot of multi groove racing. We had a really good ToyotaCare Camry, our pit crew picked up a few spots throughout the night, but the star of the race is my crew chief Chris Rice. The track changed so much from when we started the race in the sun, to where it ended with cool conditions at night that he really had to be on his toes all race long and keep me in the top 10. With that being said, we came down and took four new tires with 20 something laps to go and he made a wedge adjustment that took us from a top 10 car to a top 5 car. We restarted 13th and made our way up to 7th before just running out of laps to get into the top 5, but it was a lot of fun battling side by side and sometimes three wide in the closing laps.
The 7th place finish allowed Bowman to maintain the 11th place in driver point standings, and Robby Benton still occupies the 15th position in owner point standings. The next race on the NASCAR Nationwide schedule is the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Saturday August 10th. The event will be televised live on ABC.
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