Hendrick Motorsports’ Alex Bowman, who secured his third career win and first since March 2020 at Richmond Raceway last month, led a 1-2-3-4 sweep by Rick Hendrick’s team at Dover International Speedway after a faster pit stop than teammate and eventual runner-up Kyle Larson vaulted him to the lead.
So Bowman is now technically only the second driver who can say that he is locked into the playoffs on wins.
The reason that the same can’t be said for the eight single-race winners so far this season, despite the fact that the playoff format is considered by many to be a “win and in” format, is because of the fact that we could still get more than 16 different winners.
The playoff spots don’t automatically go to all of the winners; they are awarded to the regular season points champion and the 15 drivers with the most victories. So if there are more than 16 winners, the tie among the single-race winners is points.
But drivers who win at least twice are guaranteed to finish in the top 15 in wins since a maximum of 13 drivers can win twice in 26 races, so Bowman has joined Truex in being able to say that he has truly punched his ticket.
There are 13 races remaining on the regular season schedule. Of those 13 events, five are road course races and one is a superspeedway race.
The potential for at least six new winners certainly still exists, especially considering the fact that Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott, Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, who combined to win 21 of the 36 races on last year’s schedule, are all 0 for 13 so far this year.
Who will become the third different driver to win multiple races this season? Will a third multi-race winner emerge before we see an 11th different winner this season? The 14th race on the schedule, the EchoPark Texas Grand Prix, is scheduled to take place this Sunday, May 23.