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Alex Bowman gets Jimmie Johnson’s seat in 2021

Alex Bowman
Alex Bowman. Photo/Graphic courtesy of Hendrick Motorsports

Hendrick Motorsports announced on Tuesday that Alex Bowman would be swapping iconic car numbers for the 2021 season

Alex Bowman is getting to do what few drivers have done before: replace two great drivers, one in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the other whose spot is already reserved. The best part for the 27-year old is that he doesn’t have to change organizations.

Bowman stepped into the iconic No. 88 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired, and on Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports will move him to the No. 48, a car made famous by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.

“I’ve worked my entire life to be in a situation like this,” Bowman said. “The opportunity to drive a legendary car like the ‘48’ with incredible support from Ally, it truly can’t get any better. I’m excited to build on my relationship with Greg, who is a championship-caliber crew chief, and knows first-hand what the No. 48 is all about. The pieces are in place, and I’m grateful to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and Ally. We’re ready to do it right.”

CHANGING NUMBERS, NOT ORGANIZATIONS

When Johnson announced he was retiring from NASCAR, the series’ Silly Season got a tank full of 100 octane fuel. It rocketed into high gear with so many names on the list that Santa Claus might have needed an extra day of work. But Rick Hendrick had to look no further than his own roster of drivers to find the perfect man.

“We have tremendous faith in this team,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, in a release. “Every season, Alex gets better. Not only do we see it in the statistics, but his confidence and leadership have truly blossomed. Today he’s a proven winner and playoff contender, and his best years are ahead. Greg has won championships and races, and he brings the No. 48 pedigree that’s invaluable. When you add in the amazing enthusiasm and support from Ally, it’s quite a combination. Their partnership makes it all possible, and we look forward to celebrating many successes together in the future.”

Greg Ives will continue as Bowman’s crew chief. Together, they have secured three straight playoff berths and delivered a victory in each of the last two seasons. Bowman signed a contract extension in May keeping him with HMS through at least the end of 2021.

SPONSORSHIP IS THERE AS WELL

HMS added that Ally, who has been the primary sponsor of the No. 48, will return to the team as it transitions from Johnson to Bowman. In October 2019, Ally and Hendrick Motorsports extended their relationship through 2023.

“Alex is absolutely the right driver to carry on the legacy of the No. 48 – and he deserves a sponsor as committed as he is,” said Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer for Ally. “He’s young, hungry to win and ready to give it all he has. We’re eager to make the most of his energy and dedication to build more momentum for racing, find new ways to disrupt the sport, and help broaden NASCAR’s reach even further.”

Bowman and Ives remain in the hunt for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship. He has advanced to the Round of 12 in the Playoffs. Following the season, which concludes Nov. 8, the duo will transition to the No. 48 team from the No. 88 entry they have campaigned together since 2018. Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for that team at a later date.

“I can’t put my respect for Jimmie into words. To me, the No. 48 team’s legacy is about winning, but also how you go about your business. It’s leadership, confidence, work ethic, being a professional, and holding yourself to a higher standard. No one will ever be Jimmie, and he’s given us a championship blueprint to follow.”

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