PHOENIX (BVM) – Concussions have continued to headline news around NASCAR throughout the 2022 season, but Friday’s announcement on Alex Bowman offered some much-needed positivity. After missing five races (including this weekend at Martinsville Speedway) due to a concussion he suffered during a crash at Texas Motor Speedway on Sept. 25, Bowman will be making his return to action for the NASCAR season finale in Phoenix after being medically cleared to drive.
“We’re thrilled Alex is 100% and will have the opportunity to race at his home track,” Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports, said in a statement. “Throughout this process, he’s been incredibly diligent about following the advice of his doctors and prioritizing his health. All of us look forward to welcoming Alex back and seeing him finish 2022 with his No. 48 teammates.”
Bowman was knocked out of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs following the injury, after advancing earlier to the Round of 12. Through 30 races, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet was able to collect four top-five finishes – including a win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway back in March – along with 12 top-10 finishes throughout the Cup Series.
The 29-year-old was the second driver this year to see his championship aspirations dashed by concussion–related injuries, following the loss of Kurt Busch back in July, after his crash at Pocono Raceway. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the rising issue this year when it comes to the next-gen car, as current drivers continue to state the cars are too “stiff” resulting in harder hits. Earnhardt Jr. says that the sport is having more people step up and admit they have been concussed instead of trying to continue on with concussion symptoms.
“Here’s my opinion,” Earnhardt Jr. explained on The Dale Jr. Download. “We’re having more people step up and say, ‘I’ve got a concussion.’ We’ve got Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman who are out of the car this year alone with a concussion, and those are the only two we know about.
“Let’s not fool ourselves. Drivers will get a concussion and race with it. It would not shock me if several of these guys got a concussion unknowingly and got back in the car, or knew that they had some sort of concussion in a crash, and continued to race.”
Noah Gragson will continue to drive the No. 48 car during this Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway as Bowman prepares for his opportunity to return on Nov. 6, for the race in his home state at Phoenix Raceway.