Alex Bowman is well aware of the difficulties involved in missing races due to injury, and it’s not fun.
Owing to his injury, Bowman skipped 5 races of the previous season. Noah Gragson, who was at the time a regular in the Xfinity Series, replaced as the driver of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
Bowman was questioned about the experience on Saturday, following the announcement that his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Chase Elliott, will be sidelined for at least “many weeks” after breaking his left leg in a ski accident on Friday.
Elliott had a successful surgery late on Friday, and doctors anticipate that he will be released before Sunday.
“It’s a really uncomfortable situation. You almost feel like forgotten because obviously everything keeps going, except for you. That’s kind of what it was like for me,” Bowman, 29, explained.
“I watched every race, with the exception of one, I went to an NFL game. Just something my doctor wanted me to do. Other than that, I watched every week. And yeah, it’s not fun. Obviously went to Martinsville (Speedway) and sat on the pit box for that one.
“It’s just a weird feeling to be in the race car every week for so long and be a part of this deal every week for so long, and then realize it goes on even if you don’t.”
The dynamics, though, aren’t all negative for those engaged.
In 2016, when Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed races due to a concussion, Bowman was given the chance to step in for his squad. He subsequently received a full-time position with the company as a result of his time with Hendrick at the time.
Josh Berry, a 32-year-old Xfinity racer for JR Motorsports, will stand in for Elliott on Sunday, which Bowman describes as “a good chance” for him.
“Obviously, we had some success when I filled in, but it’s really hard. I think it’s only gotten harder with the Next Gen car coming in,” Bowman said. “The Xfinity car used to be so similar to a Cup car, and now they couldn’t be more different in how they drive and how you can approach how to aggressively drive them.
“I think it is a good opportunity for Josh to learn and to see how Hendrick Motorsports operates and to see the things that we do and to be a part of an organization like that, even though it’s through a situation that nobody wants.”
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