NASCAR: Alex Bowman to return at Phoenix after missing five races with concussion

Alex Bowman will return for the final race of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Bowman, an Arizona native, announced Friday that he was cleared to race in the season finale at Phoenix on Nov. 6. Bowman has been sidelined since suffering a concussion on Sept. 25 in a crash at Texas.

Bowman was concussed when his car backed into the wall in Turn 4. He was able to finish the race but Hendrick Motorsports said in the days after that Bowman had been diagnosed with a concussion.

The crash eliminated Bowman from the playoffs. He had advanced to the second round but was one of the four drivers eliminated ahead of the third round. He’s been replaced in his No. 48 car for five races by Noah Gragson.

Bowman’s return at Phoenix also means he’ll have one more opportunity to race with crew chief Greg Ives before he steps away. Ives has been a crew chief at Hendrick Motorsports since he was named Dale Earnhardt Jr’s crew chief in 2015 and has been with Bowman since Bowman replaced Junior after the 2017 season.

The duo has won seven races together over the past four seasons. Bowman won a career-high four races in 2021 and his victory at Las Vegas in 2022 qualified him for the playoffs. Since he missed five playoff races, Bowman will finish no better than 15th in the points standings.

Bowman was the second driver concussed in a Cup Series crash in 2022 after Kurt Busch suffered a concussion in a July wreck at Pocono. Busch’s concussion forced him to miss the rest of the season and also caused him to step away from full-time racing for the foreseeable future. NASCAR has promised improvements to the rigid 2022 Cup Series car ahead of 2023 in an attempt to keep drivers safer.

BRISTOL, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 16: Alex Bowman, and crew push the #48 Ally Chevrolet, on the grid during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Bass Pro Shops Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on September 16, 2022 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Alex Bowman will be back for the final NASCAR Cup Series race of 2022. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)