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CONCORD, N.C. – Greg Ives is back with the No. 48 team, this time as its crew chief.

On Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced both Ives and driver Alex Bowman will move to the No. 48 in 2021 after seven-time  champion Jimmie Johnson finishes his full-time NASCAR Cup Series career at the end of 2020.

For Ives, it’s a full-circle moment. He started working with the No. 48 team more than 15 years ago and was the team’s lead engineer under crew chief Chad Knaus from 2006-2012. In that timespan, he won five championships with Johnson.

To return to the team he started with is an emotional homecoming for Ives.

“It’s pretty special to be able to represent a number that gave me a lot of success early on in my career and actually built my career,” Ives said. “(It) allowed me great opportunities to become (a) crew chief and, for a number that has affected my life so much, a team, a way of living, performing – I think it’s going to be hard to exactly put into words what I felt, other than to say it was a lot of emotion.”

While Johnson leaving full-time competition will mark the end of one era, Ives is excited about beginning a new chapter in the Ally Chevrolet. He believes Bowman’s transition will only build on the winning legacy of the No. 48.

“I feel like when it comes to the 48 team, it represents a young kid working hard, going through the ranks of racing, ultimately getting a shot, and that’s the 48 team,” Ives said. “Hard work, dedication, being true to yourself, having good character, (being) good on and off the racetrack. That’s somebody who can look at Jimmie and say, ‘Alex is very similar to that’ and his performance on the racetrack will prove itself. The few wins that we have are quickly going to turn into more.”

Currently, Ives and Bowman are vying for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series championship. Bowman sits above the cutoff line in seventh in the playoff rankings heading to the Charlotte roval, which is the final race in the Round of 12. The duo already has a win this season from their dominant performance at Auto Club Speedway in March, and they have notched five top-10 finishes in the last seven races.