Bowman to drive No. 7 car for Tommy Baldwin Racing

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Alex Bowman will drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing this season, the team announced Friday. The 21-year-old Bowman, entering his second NASCAR Sprint Cup season, replaces Michael Annett, who left the No. 7 car to join HScott Motorsports.

Bowman drove for BK Racing last season, placing 35th in the points. His best finish was 13th at Daytona in July. It was his only top-20 finish last season for the underfunded team.

He placed 11th in the points in what is now the Xfinity Series in 2013, scoring two poles. He was the ARCA Rookie of the Year in 2012.

“Alex is the future of TBR, and he will be a great representative of our team,” said owner Tommy Baldwin Jr. in a statement from the team. “He is a young driver who displayed a great talent in both the Xfinity and Sprint Cup Series the past few years. We are pleased to give Alex the opportunity to further showcase his skills.”

The team did not announce sponsorship for the car.

Valtteri Bottas wins chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix

Mark Thompson/Getty Images
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SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas won a chaotic season-opening F1 Austrian Grand Prix while six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton finished fourth after getting a late time penalty Sunday.

The Formula One race was interrupted three times by a safety car, and nine of 20 drivers abandoned, including both Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon – who tried to overtake Hamilton on the outside with 10 laps left, touched wheels and flew off track.

Hamilton was given a 5-second time penalty for causing the collision, having earlier been hit with a three-place grid penalty after an incident in Saturday’s qualifying was reviewed by stewards.

SHOW OF SUPPORT: Drivers take knee before race

Bottas led all 71 laps in the eighth victory of his career. It was the second consecutive victory in the season opener for the Finn, though he won four months earlier in 2019 after this season’s start was delayed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Lando Norris of McLaren F1 celebrates after his first podium finish (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).

Bottas started from pole position and Hamilton from fifth, but it looked like a straight fight between the two Mercedes drivers as has been the case so often in recent years.

But late drama in Spielberg ensured otherwise and Hamilton’s time penalty meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, and Lando Norris sent McLaren’s garage into raptures – and threw all social distancing rules out of the window amid the euphoria – with third place.

It was the 20-year-old British driver’s first career podium, and his superb final lap was the fastest of a dramatic season opener.

Norris became the youngest British driver to secure a podium finish and the third-youngest ever in Formula One.

Valtteri Bottas leads Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton during the Formula One Grand Prix of Austria (Mark Thompson/Getty Images).