Alex Bowman (pictured) led for just 10 laps and edged Cup Series winner Denny Hamlin to win the 2021 Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday in Richmond, Va. File Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI | License Photo
April 19 (UPI) -- NASCAR's Alex Bowman edged standings leader Denny Hamlin and became the eighth winner and nine races this Cup Series season with a victory in the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway.
Bowman snatched the lead from Hamlin with 10 laps remaining and held on through the checkered flag Sunday in Richmond, Va.
"We weren't in a great place with points, but now we've got a win and we don't have to worry about that," Bowman told reporters. "I wouldn't say we were desperate. I feel like we've had such fast race cars that we knew we were capable of doing a good job, getting into the playoffs.
"This definitely eases the nerves a little bit."
Joey Logano, Christopher Bell and betting favorite Martin Truex Jr. rounded out Sunday's Top 5 finishers. The victory moved Bowman to No. 13 in the Cup Series standings. He ranks No. 8 in the projected playoff standings.
Hamlin now has eight Top 5 finishes without a win in 2021, a record to start a Cup Series season.
"I mean, it's frustrating for sure," Hamlin told reporters. "I'd rather be where I am than Alex Bowman. I don't care that he's got a win. We're smashing everyone. I'd still rather be where I'm at."
Truex started first and led for the first 32 laps. He then exchanged the lead with Hamlin, who claimed the first and second stages of the race.
Logano, Brad Keselowski, A.J. Dillon and Kyle Busch were among the other race leaders. Hamlin took the lead on lap No. 383, but dropped to second behind Bowman on lap No. 391.
Hamlin led a race-high 207 laps, while Bowman led for just 10 laps. Truex led for 107 laps in the 300-mile race on the 0.75-mile track.
The Cup Series season continues with the Geico 500 at 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala.