CONCORD, N.C. -- Jimmie Johnson has given his stamp of approval for Alex Bowman to take over the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE starting in 2021.
The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion not only lauded Bowman for his talent, but said his tenacity is what makes him the perfect fit to replace Johnson once he retires from full-time Cup Series racing at the end of this season.
“I look at Alex’s career and how hard he has worked to create opportunity and to maximize opportunity,” Johnson said. “I can remember him being in the Cup Series years and years ago just fighting for his job and driving the wheels off the cars he was in.
“To see him develop as a driver and continue to apply himself more and more each and every year to continue to mature and grow – he’s earned the right. He really has earned this opportunity to drive the 48 car, and I believe he’s going to do an amazing job behind the wheel.”
On Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced Bowman and crew chief Greg Ives will transition from the No. 88 team to the No. 48 team in 2021. The move will be a full-circle moment for Ives, who was part of the No. 48 team as the lead engineer from 2006-2012. During that time, Ives was part of five Cup Series titles with Johnson.
“Greg’s such a crucial part of the 48 car and to have him coming back to the car number means a lot to me, and I know it does to those diehard 48 fans (who) are out there and understand the journey,” Johnson said. “I’ve watched Greg grow and mature so much in his own right and go from being a lower-level engineer to lead engineer. As a friend and as a coworker, I’m just so proud of Greg’s journey and really happy for Greg and his family and what they have in store in the future.”
Johnson is glad Ives and Bowman are staying together, adding it’s important for their relationship to continue to develop and for their chemistry to become even stronger. He credits having that level of trust with former crew chief Chad Knaus as to why the No. 48 team has been so successful.
“Greg and Alex have done an amazing job and they’re only going to improve and only get better,” Johnson said. “Keeping them together is key, I believe, and I think we’ll see a lot of great results.”