By Nick Lewis
Alex Bowman has been chosen by Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 48 Ally Bank Chevrolet in the 2021 season.
Bowman will once again have large shoes to fill after his took over the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports full time with the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the end of 2017. This time however, he will be filling the shoes of 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
“Talking to Mr. Hendrick when he told me I was going to drive the No. 48 I was really excited,” said Bowman in a video posted on the Hendrick Motorsports website. “To transition to the 48 is going to be a lot of fun. It’s an honor to get to take over the 48 from Jimmie Johnson.”
Bowman credits Johnson for helping him out since his move to Hendrick Motorsports and Bowman recognizes the challenge and welcomes the expectations that comes with filling the seat of a seven-time champion and a winner of 83 Cup races. Bowman is confident that he can help bring the No. 48 back to victory lane and contend for championships again which is something that he is doing in the No. 88 this season.
Following Bowman to the No. 48 is his crew chief Greg Ives who already has some experience atop the No. 48 pit box. During his time as the lead engineer under Chad Knaus, Ives won five championships as part of the No. 48 crew and celebrated in victory lane 42 times during that span. For Ives, he said it was really special to come back to a team where he had success early in his career and where he started building his career.
“For a number that has affected my life so much, a team a way of living, a way of performing I think it would be hard to put into words what I felt other than saying there was a lot of emotion,” said Ives in a video posted on the Hendrick Motorsports website.
Ives compared Bowman to Johnson saying that their careers are very similar with Bowman being a young and talented driver. He believes that Bowman’s on track performance will show people that he is capable of winning more races and believes that Bowman will win more races at Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick believes that Alex Bowman will continue to get better with time and has seen a transformation already. Hendrick said that Bowman’s off the track qualities such as leadership and confidence has grown along with his on-track performance. Not only is Bowman and Hendrick excited for his move to the No. 48, but his new sponsor Ally Bank is also excited for the future.
“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 in a press release for Hendrick Motorsports. “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.”
Even though Bowman has his plans set for 2021, he is still running for a championship in 2020. His win at Auto Club Speedway in March qualified him for the NASCAR playoffs where this weekend he is looking to avoid elimination and advance to the round of eight. Next year, Bowman will be looking to continue to grow his performance and build off his two career wins that he has under his belt.
“I’ve worked my entire life to be in a situation like this,” Bowman said in a Hendrick Motorsports press release. “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.”