Rival crew chief defends Alex Bowman and his strategy during the Duel at Daytona


Kevin Harvick may not be impressed with Alex Bowman's strategy at the Can-Am Duel at Daytona, but Alan Gustafson certainly understands it.

Gustafson, the crew chief for Chase Elliott's No. 9 for Hendrick Motorsports, defended Bowman's team.

Gustafson, in a story on Hendrick Motorsports website, understands what Bowman and his crew chief Greg Ives , were trying to do.

"I understand what Alex Bowman did," he said. "Greg's focus was to get the pole, and he did it. He did a good job with it, had a really fast car. There are very much a lot of positives that are going to come with that for Greg - pit stall selection, starting position, a lot of good things."


Harvick, in his comments, saw things differently.

Bowman impressed a lot of people when he won the pole in qualifying for the Daytona 500. Then, with his starting position already secure, he took it easy at the Can-Am Duel, content to cruise around at the back of the pack to ensure nothing happened to his pole-winning ride.

Harvick didn't like that.

Harvick brings up a good point: as nice as it is starting from the pole, taking a back seat in the Duel is leaving points on the table. And it is points, in stage racing, that are most important.


Equally important is getting as much practice as possible with the new cars. With how loose a lot of these cars are, and Bowman presumably setting up his car purely for speed to sell out during qualifying, experiencing the cars in a pack will be critical to having success during the 500.

"Alex Bowman didn't learn anything today," Harvick said. "Not knowing what your car is going to do is a complete waste of time."

The true test will come Sunday.

Related: Big names will have a long way to go now that the final starting order for the Daytona 500 is set