Race fans know that Nationwide member and spokesperson Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be retiring from full-time NASCAR racing at the end of the 2017 season. On Thursday, Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) announced the man who will be stepping into the seat of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet in 2018 once Dale Jr. retires. That man is Alex Bowman.
Bowman is no stranger to the No. 88 team. He served as a substitute driver for the No. 88 Chevrolet in 10 races last year, when Dale Jr. was sidelined with concussion-related symptoms. During that time, Bowman completed three top-10 finishes with the team including a sixth-place result at Phoenix, where he won the pole position and led a race-high 194 laps.
“I’m excited to build on the relationship with Nationwide and all of our partners,” Bowman said. “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.”
Nationwide also announced that the company has extended its partnership with HMS and will be the primary sponsor for 19 races in 2018.
“While it’s difficult to replace an iconic racing star and NASCAR’s most popular driver in Dale Jr., Alex is an accomplished young driver who has completed 81 NASCAR Cup Series races and performed well driving for Nationwide last season,” says Mike Boyd, senior vice president of Enterprise Brand Marketing. “We’re excited to have Alex as our driver for the 2018 NASCAR Cup Series.”