This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Alex Bowman wasn't about to finish second again this season. He was one of the fastest cars on track throughout Sunday's rain-delayed Camping World 400 at Chicagoland Speedway and spent more than 80 laps in the lead before Kyle Larson mounted a late-race charge to snatch victory away. Bowman dug deep and wrestled his way back past the No. 42 in a gutsy pass that then saw him hold command for the final handful of laps before taking the checkered flag. The win was the second this season for Hendrick Motorsports, Bowman's first in the series, and ensures the No. 88 will be in the championship playoffs at the end of the year.
This week's Coke Zero 400 marks the beginning of the second half of the season and the countdown to the start of the championship playoffs. Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 back in February, but that race was the last one under the old NASCAR rules package for superspeedways. Chase Elliott won at Talladega under the new format, and that means Joe Gibbs Racing could be facing another stern test from the Chevrolet teams this week.
Alex Bowman – Bowman drove a near perfect race in Chicago on Sunday. He was the first car able to break away from the field to build a multisecond lead. As long green-flag runs became the norm in the final stage, he was forced to battle Kyle Larson to maintain his advantage and even briefly lost the lead. He gritted