He learned he’d been added to the field watching NASCAR chairman Brian France make the announcement on television before qualifying.
“It was hard to not hear rumblings about what may occur, what may not occur. We just tried not to get our hopes up,” he said. “I’ll admit, it’s been a rough week. It was a lot of ups and downs of emotions for this entire team. I’m very thankful to be in, and I know it’s under the most unbelievable circumstances I’ve ever been a part of in my racing career, and I wish that all of this hadn’t happened. Now here we are as a 13th car and in, now we just try to take that opportunity and make the most of it.”
Chase drivers made up the next four spots as Greg Biffle was seventh and followed by Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and points leader Matt Kenseth.
Bowyer was the lowest qualifying Chase driver at 24th.