Alex Bowman’s streak of runner-up finishes reached three Saturday night at Kansas Speedway as Brad Keselowski foiled his bid for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
Bowman’s No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet finished .205 seconds behind Keselowski’s Team Penske No. 2 Ford at the finish of the Digital Ally 400. His run of second-place finishes now stretches over a three-week span — Talladega to Dover to Saturday’s event at Kansas.
Bowman led 63 laps, all but one of those coming in the final stage. Keselowski, however, closed in and grabbed the lead for the final time on the 261st of 271 laps. Bowman briefly allowed Erik Jones’ No. 20 Toyota to slip by for second place before regaining the stop in overtime.
“We had a really good car, I just made bad decisions going through lap traffic on lane choice,” Bowman said. “They stayed where I needed to run. I should have gone high and I shouldn’t have picked the middle like I did. I just had to lift and let the 2 and the 20 drive right around me. I’m pretty frustrated with myself. There was no way around that, that was a bad mistake on my part. We’ll go home and get them next week.”
Bowman remains winless in 129 starts in NASCAR’s top series, but counted the result as part of a recent performance gain for the Rick Hendrick-owned organization. Three of four Hendrick drivers led laps in Saturday night’s race, and three Hendrick drivers placed among the top six at the checkered flag.
“It’s absolutely a good day for everyone at Hendrick Motorsports,” Bowman said. “We all had really competitive cars and we really appreciate everyone’s hard work to continue to build our cars and continue to get better like we have. It was a really good day. My family is from here, so it would have been pretty cool. Probably the two closest times I have been to winning was my hometown and my dad’s hometown, so it’s just frustrating. We will get one soon.”
The last driver to net runner-up finishes in three consecutive races was Kyle Larson, who finished second at Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix early in the 2017 season. No driver has ever landed three straight runner-up results before scoring his first career Monster Energy Series win.