CONCORD, N.C. – When the green flag drops on the first race of the 2018 season, Hendrick Motorsports won’t quite look the same as it did in 2017.
Chase Elliott’s car will don a different car number as well, as he will pilot the No. 9 Chevy.
Meanwhile, Jimmie Johnson will step into the elder statesman role of the group.
And the team will also switch from racing the Chevrolet SS to the Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
With four iconic numbers, new race cars and two fresh faces, the 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions usher in a new era.
“I think 2018 is going to be a lot of fun, honestly,” Johnson said. “Alex and William both are really talented drivers, Chase at his age and what he’s accomplished. Those guys, all three of them bring so much to the table.”
With three teammates in their 20s, the seven-time champion becomes the oldest and most experienced driver on the team. Embracing that role, Johnson plans to do everything he can to help his teammates succeed.
“I’m very excited about it,” Johnson explained. “Hopefully I can also help shed some experience on different situations for them and help their first year in the sport be a little bit easier than it would be otherwise.”
Having joined the team in 2015, Elliott becomes the second-most experienced driver. But transitioning from the youngest driver to one of the veterans won’t change his mindset when it comes to race weekends.
“I have a lot of trust in (No. 9 team crew chief) Alan (Gustafson) and how he likes to go about the weekend,” Elliott said. “I think that for me to kind of keep trusting in that process, I’m not really going to change how I do things because I have two new teammates.”
Elliott also believes the additions of Byron and Bowman will make for a new and unique experience for fans.
“I think that it’s exciting, for sure,” Elliott explained. “It’s going to be exciting for people to see.”
Johnson is equally as excited as the organization enters a new era, and couldn’t be happier to call Hendrick Motorsports his home.
“I’m so proud to have had my entire Cup career at Hendrick Motorsports,” Johnson said. “It’s home, it’s family. Then to see what Alex, William and Chase, what they will bring to the organization. I’m real proud to know what my extended family is about and I think we’re going to have a great year.”