A bet at Sin City pays the jackpot for Tucson’s Alex Bowman as NASCAR sets its sights on returning to Phoenix Raceway in just a week.

A 400-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway boiled down to a NASCAR overtime, green-white checkered finish, two-lap race to the checkered flag after a late-race warning. During pit stops before the race resumed, Bowman and two of his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Kyle Larson and William Byron, only performed a right-side tire change instead of changing all four tires with the rest of the peloton.

In the ensuing green-white checkered restart, Bowman lined up in second alongside teammate and defending champion Kyle Larson but managed to fend off No. 5, running side-by-side during the entire extension. until a flurry around the final corner gave Bowman his first win of the 2022 season.

“This thing was so fast all day, it never really got the trail position we needed to show it off,” Bowman said on FOX. “It’s been a really bad start to the year, so coming here and getting a win over a [green-white-checkered] the restart is quite special.

Bowman and his sponsor, Ally, have teamed up with Bets Friends Animal Society for a second year to donate $4,800 to a local animal shelter each week of the season with a mission to eliminate kill shelters by 2025, including a $10,000 bonus if the No. 48 team is victorious. As a result, a local animal shelter in Las Vegas receives $14,800 by virtue of Bowman’s victory over Ally and Alex.

Bowman’s four wins in 2021 tied him for second place a year ago, only behind eventual champion Kyle Larson. It was a career season for the seven-year-old Cup Series driver, but he was unable to advance past the knockout stages in the hopes of contesting a championship at Phoenix Raceway.

The Ironwood Ridge High School alum got his fifth consecutive first-place start at the season opener Daytona 500 to start the 2021 season, but had failed to finish either of the first two races of the season in the top 20. The Las Vegas win earns Bowman his seventh career win at NASCAR’s top tier.

Bowman becomes NASCAR’s third different winner in three races in 2022. This is Bowman’s second year driving the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports, formerly driven by seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson. Bowman previously ran No. 88 for the Hendrick team directly after the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bowman became the first-ever Arizonan to earn a Cup Series win at Chicagoland in June 2019. The rest of 2019 wouldn’t be so kind to Bowman, picking up just three more top-fives and was eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs in the Round of 12. Learn more about Bowman since joining ‘The Inside Lane’ ahead of the 2021 Phoenix race in March.

Bowman grew up in Tucson racing locally in dirt midgets, becoming a USAC Focus Midget National Champion in 2008 and USAC National Midget Rookie of the Year in 2009. After a fatal accident in Las Vegas in 2010, Bowman moved away of the land race. and moved to North Carolina to pursue a career in stock car racing.

The win sets Bowman up for a possible return to the NASCAR Playoffs, an elimination bracket-style postseason that takes place in the final ten races of the season with the championship at Phoenix Raceway. Bowman can clinch a playoff berth with a second with this season or be in the top 16 in driver points with at least one win. The win gives the 28-year-old a plethora of momentum as NASCAR visits its home track of Phoenix Raceway next week where he came close to winning replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2016.

NASCAR is coming to Phoenix in a few days for their March 11-13 spring race weekend. Sports360AZ will be on the track every day for the NASCAR Championship Preview, so be sure to catch all the action.