Alex Bowman will make the move to Hendrick Motorsports’ No. 48 Chevrolet for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, the team revealed Tuesday, Oct. 6.
The move comes after Jimmie Johnson elected to retire at the end of 2020, vacating the No. 48.
Bowman has driven the team’s No. 88 since 2018, winning a pair of races and scoring a best points finish of 12th.
The team’s statement indicated that Johnson backed the change.
Bowman is set to have backing from Ally Financial, which sponsored Johnson in 2018 and 2019. Last October, the sponsor and team agreed to an extension through the 2023 season.
“I’ve worked my entire life to be in a situation like this,” Bowman said in a release. “The opportunity to drive a legendary car like the ‘48’ with incredible support from Ally, it truly can’t get any better…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.
“I can’t put my respect for Jimmie into words,” he added. “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.”
Bowman won his first Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in 2019, following that up with a triumph at Auto Club Speedway in March.
“We have tremendous faith in this team,” team owner Rick Hendrick said. “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.”
No driver has been announced to fill the No. 88, but Chase Elliott and William Byron will continue to be Bowman’s teammates in the Hendrick stable.
Bowman currently sits seventh in the points standings after finishing 14th at Talladega Superspeedway. He and the rest of the field next head to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s ROVAL for the Round of 12’s elimination race.
About the author
Adam Cheek joined Frontstretch as a contributing writer in January 2019. A 2020 graduate of VCU, he works as a producer and talent for Audacy Richmond's radio stations. In addition to motorsports journalism, Adam also covered and broadcasted numerous VCU athletics for the campus newspaper and radio station during his four years there. He's been a racing fan since the age of three, inheriting the passion from his grandfather, who raced in amateur events up and down the East Coast in the 1950s.
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Does this mean 3 cars for Hendrick next year? Would appear so.
Is Kyle Larson in the 88?
So Jimmie could have nixed the whole thing if he didn’t “back the change”?
I find that doubtful.
The equivalent of asking a girl’s father’s blessing before getting married. If he says no you elope. LOL
Well now we are just wondering about the 88 instead of the 48.
On the scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is a major news break, this might be a 2. Not surprising.
i had seen once that cause of sponsorship issues 88 team might be shuttered. be interesting to see how that plays out. not sure if larson has a sponsor coming with him anywhere.
If Larson does indeed come back it will be interesting to see who would step up to sponsor him.
The 88 is only partially funded and the 48 is fully funded. I’m sure Ally didn’t feel like it could take a chance on Larson so it would make sense to move Bowman to the 48 and put Larson in the 88. Also, under the circumstances, Hendrick probably gets Larson at a discounted salary, something that would not have been possible before the incident. I’m guessing you’ll see HendrickCars.com on the 88 for a number of races as well next year. If the 88 performs as expected with Larson, I’m sure that Hendrick is betting on being able to attract additional sponsorship.
cj: Your comments all make sense …