Alex Bowman, driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Hendrick Motorsports, will return to NASCAR Cup Series competition this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway after recovering from a fractured vertebra.
Bowman, 30, suffered the compression fracture April 25 while competing in a sprint car at 34 Raceway in West Burlington, Iowa. On Tuesday, he drove a Cup Series car 170 laps during a NASCAR-approved medical evaluation test at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
Prior to the injury, Bowman led the Cup Series in average finish through the first 10 races of 2023. After missing three points-paying events, the Tucson, Arizona, native ranks 17th in the playoff standings, just five points behind the transfer spot with 13 races remaining in the regular season.
“It’s a boost for all of us to have Alex return to the No. 48 car this weekend at our home track,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “He’s still 17th in points, which says a lot about how well the team performed at the start of the year. Alex has worked hard to rehab the injury and come back strong, and I look for him to continue having a championship-caliber season.”
Josh Berry subbed for Bowman in all three points events with a best result of 10th at Dover Motor Speedway on April 30. He also competed in Sunday’s non-points NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro, finishing 15th after winning the All-Star Open. Berry, 32, drives full-time for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“Josh is an absolute pro,” said Jeff Andrews, president and general manager of Hendrick Motorsports. “His talent and hard work allowed the team to continue operating at a high level while Alex recovered. We can’t say enough about the great job he did under some challenging circumstances. We’re grateful to Josh and our partners at JRM for their support.”
Bowman remains eligible for the 2023 playoffs after NASCAR granted a medical waiver.