The pieces to the puzzle of the NASCAR Silly Season have started to come together.
The announcement was made Thursday morning (July 20) following a number of teases on the HMS Twitter page.
Greg Ives will remain as the crew chief for the No. 88, a post he has held since 2015.
“Ever since I was a kid, racing is all I’ve wanted to do,” Bowman said in a team release. “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.
“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.”
Question answered. pic.twitter.com/BME7yvcLOC
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) July 20, 2017
Bowman is no stranger to the No. 88 or Hendrick. He has spent the past two seasons working as an HMS test driver and drove the No. 88 for 10 races last season while Earnhardt was out for concussion symptoms. He competed in the Clash at Daytona International Speedway earlier this season after earning his way in with a pole in his 2016 relief campaign.
The 24-year-old has had Earnhardt’s endorsement; it was only a question of if the No. 88 sponsors would go along with it.
Sure enough, current sponsor Nationwide will sponsor Bowman’s No. 88 in 19 races as a primary sponsor in 2018, while Axalta ups its amount to 15.
“Alex impressed the heck out of us last year with his talent, poise and professionalism,” Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports, added. “He stepped up in a very demanding situation and showed that he can run with the best and compete for wins. His ability to stay focused through it all, and the way he’s handled himself since then, has shown a lot of character. Greg and the team loved working with Alex, and that dynamic will get even better with more time together.”
The Tucson, Ariz., native is no rookie. He has 81 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts to his credit, including two full seasons driving for BK Racing and Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014 and 2015.
Bowman will strap into the No. 88 for the first time at the 2018 Daytona 500.
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