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CONCORD, N.C. – After months of hoping, waiting and anticipation, Thursday was finally the day.

Alex Bowman was set to be officially announced as the driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet for 2018.

And at 9:30 a.m., he stepped into the Nos. 48 and 88 race shop to share the news.

“It was intimidating to talk in front of a lot of people that I really look up to,” Bowman said. “(No. 48 team crew chief) Chad (Knaus) and (No. 88 team crew chief) Greg (Ives), they’re people that I really look up to.”

Bowman, Ives and Hendrick Motorsports president and COO Marshall Carlson addressed the group.

“We talked about just the history behind this shop and what it means to have Alex come in and what a great job he did filling in,” Ives said, referring to Bowman’s stint as a substitute driver for the No. 88 team during Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s recovery from a concussion last season. “He was able to run those 10 races last year because he performed in the first one.”

The news was met with a hearty round of applause.

“The race teams, they have had so much faith in me and have been so good to me,” Bowman said. “Heck, they’re pretty much family to me at this point, so it was cool to get to tell them. It was cool to see them excited about it.”

That excitement was what immediately stood out to Ives.

“You can go around to all the guys in the shop and you know they’re excited for Alex to come in and excited for him to be in the race car,” the crew chief said.

Afterward, Bowman was greeted with handshakes and hugs all around. Now, he said, he’s just ready to get to work.

“It means a lot to me that a lot of guys came up and were like, ‘Oh, you were who we were hoping for,’” the driver said. “It just means a lot that I’m who they want to drive the race car.”