Alex Bowman Will Take Over No. 88 Car From Dale Earnhardt Jr.
The Hendrick Motorsport newcomer will represent the historic number come 2018.
Hendrick Motorsport youngster Alex Bowman has got to be feeling like the luckiest man in NASCAR right now. After motorsports legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired, he left some serious shoes to be filled, and it looks like Bowman is going to be the one to do the job. A report from Motorsport and the team's own website confirms that the three-year veteran will take over Junior's spot after auditioning for the team last year...meaning he's got a lot of work to do for next year's NASCAR season.
Needless to say, Bowman is ecstatic about the opportunity. Then again, anyone would be, if they could get over the nervousness of replacing one of racing's greatest.
“Ever since I was a kid, racing is all I’ve wanted to do,” Bowman said. “I’ve had so many people believe in me along the way. My family has sacrificed a lot and always been behind me. I would never have this chance without the support of Dale and everyone involved with the No. 88 team. To be part of Hendrick Motorsports and for Mr. Hendrick to have this confidence in me, it’s just amazing."
Bowman took over for Earnhardt during a short stint in 2016, though no move was set in stone come time for the champion to retire.
“The No. 88 team is such a great group of people. I know we can pick up where we left off last year, and I truly believe we can win races and contend for a championship. I’m excited to build on the relationship with Nationwide and all of our partners. It means the world that they have faith in me, and I’m thankful to have them on my side. Now I just want to go win.”
He was able to take three Top 10 finishes during his 10-race stint with the team, a respectable feat for the former open-wheel racer. Team owner Rick Hendrick even expressed his amazement with the driver, saying, “Alex impressed the heck out of us last year with his talent, poise, and professionalism. He stepped up in a very demanding situation and showed that he can run with the best and compete for wins."
After making his Cup Series debut in 2014, Bowman has been able to represent himself well to teams across the sport. Lucky for him, one of NASCAR's best happened to be the most intrigued.
Nationwide will be Bowman's major sponsor for most of 2018, while Axalta will provide the livery for 15 races during the season. Regardless of whose name is on the outside of the car, Bowman will be fighting to prove his worth behind the wheel.