Alex Bowman takes lead late, wins Toyota Owners 400

Apr 18, 2021; Richmond, Virginia, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Alex Bowman (48) celebrates after winning the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Bowman took the lead from Denny Hamlin with 10 laps to go, put a bit of space between them and went on to win the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on Sunday in Virginia.

The victory was the first of the season for the Hendrick Motorsports driver, his first ever at Richmond and the third of his Cup career.

He overcame a pit-road penalty earlier in the race to get it.

The victory gave Bowman his first top-five finish at Richmond and came in his 10th start at the Virginia track.

His margin of victory over Joe Gibbs Racing’s Hamlin was .381 seconds.

Hamlin had dominated the race, leading 207 of 400 laps at the .75-mile oval. He finished second.

Joey Logano of Team Penske finished third. Fourth was Christopher Bell of the Gibbs team.

Martin Truex Jr., the series only two-time winner this season, appeared to have enough car to become a three-time winner.

But JGR’s Truex, who had started the race having won five of the last 11 short track races, including last weekend’s event at Martinsville, was penalized for speeding into pit row in the third stage while running second. He fought his way back to the front and finished fifth after leading 107 laps.

Aric Almirola, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Matt DiBenedetto and Austin Dillon rounded out the top 10.

Several drivers who started the day in the top 10 in points had terrible days. Those included Kyle Larson, who has a victory in 2021 and was fourth in points before the race. He finished 18th — two laps of the pace.

Kevin Harvick, who won a series best nine times a year ago, appeared headed to a good finish on Sunday but he blew a tire with 20 laps to go and crashed hard into the wall.

Speaking of crashes, next up on the Cup schedule is a 500-miler at NASCAR’s biggest track, the 2.66-mile, high-banked Talladega Superspeedway oval.

–Field Level Media