NASCAR: Alex Bowman to miss Talladega after apparent concussion suffered in Texas wreck

Alex Bowman will miss Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega after his crash at Texas Motor Speedway.

Hendrick Motorsports said Thursday that Bowman was experiencing “concussion-like symptoms” and wouldn’t be able to participate. He’ll be replaced by Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson.

“After undergoing medical evaluation due to concussion-like symptoms, I will not be driving the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet in Talladega,” Bowman said in a statement. “I’m disappointed but know my health is the number one priority. I am committed to follow all medical guidance to ensure I can return to competition as soon as possible.”

Bowman is currently 12th in the points standings and was set to enter Talladega 30 points outside of the top eight ahead of the second race of the second round of the playoffs. The top eight drivers after the three races of the second round of the playoffs advance to the third round.

Bowman was one of the numerous drivers who had tire problems during the Texas race. He hit the Turn 4 wall hard after a tire went down on his car, though he kept racing. Bowman said after the crash that it was the “hardest hit” he’d ever experienced as a driver at any level even though the crash looked relatively innocuous to the naked eye.

It did, however, look similar to the crash Kurt Busch had during qualifying at Pocono. Busch suffered a concussion during that wreck and hasn’t been able to return to the Cup Series since.

Drivers have said that the new Cup Series car implemented in 2022 has produced some of the hardest hits they’ve ever experienced at NASCAR’s top level. The car was completely redesigned from the previous car and appears to not have as much impact absorption as the other one did. Every bit of impact absorbed by a car in a crash is less impact for a driver’s body. That’s important when you’re reaching speeds of over 180 mph.

It’s also important that NASCAR figure out what needs to be done to limit concussions going forward. Teams have seen myriad issues with this car over the course of the season, from the cars getting stuck on the ground early in the year, to fires and tire failures. It’s clear that there are plenty of things to be fixed in this car when it comes to driver safety going forward as crashes are an unavoidable part of racing. Especially at Talladega, the track known for its monster crashes.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 25: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on September 25, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
FORT WORTH, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 25: Alex Bowman, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, pits during the NASCAR Cup Series Auto Trader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on September 25, 2022 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)