Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick has made his decision as to who will replace retiring Jimmie Johnson next season behind the wheel of the number 48 car…and he already familiar with him.

Currently driving the number 88 car after the retirement of Dale Earnhardt Jr, Alex Bowman will be moving over to take on the driving duties in the number 48 car.

In his third season as a Hendrick Motorsports driver, Bowman once again has some big shoes to fill.  Earnhardt was the 15 time Most Popular driver when he retired; now Bowman will be replacing a seven time Cup champion.  Bowman spoke on following the legends saying, “both of them have had so much to do with my career. Obviously, I wouldn’t be driving for Hendrick Motorsports at all without Dale’s help, and since then, Jimmie’s been a huge part of it.  It’s tough to take over from the most popular of all time, and then three years later to follow that up with arguably the greatest of all time. But it means a lot to me that everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has faith in me, and Ally has faith in me to do a good job and make the 48 car proud.”

Jimmie Johnson spoke on Bowman’s new ride saying, ““I think the world’s been eagerly awaiting, and obviously a big day for all of us.  Very happy for Alex, very proud of Alex. When I look at his journey to climb the ladder and to get to where he is today, that guy has had to work his guts out for his opportunity, time and time again. Every time he’s had the opportunity, he’s made the most of it and has earned that next ride. Really proud of him. He’s going to be a great replacement in the 48 car. Then also to have Greg Ives coming over, it’s really special for Greg, too, with the history that he has on the 48 car.”

Johnson added, “I’m here for Hendrick Motorsports and for Alex and anything that 48 car needs.  I spent my entire career in the company, in that race car, and I want nothing but the best for them. As I look at things differently in my racing career and scale things down a bit, I’m still going to be here. Anything those guys need from me, I’m around and would be glad to help.”

Bowman’s current crew chief Greg Ives – who also worked with Earnhardt – will make the move with Bowman.  Replacements for Bowman and Ives; as well as, the fate of Cliff Daniels, the current crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, will be determined at a later date.

Johnson announced at the end of last season that the 2020 racing season would be his last as a full time driver in NASCAR and not even a viral pandemic that shut down all sports for seven weeks can change Johnson’s mind.  Recently Johnson announced that he will be running the road courses for Penske Racing in Indy cars.

feature photo credit: By Zach Catanzareti – https://www.flickr.com/photos/58980992@N03/45277691504, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85913839