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CONCORD, N.C. – Alex Bowman pulled off the ultimate surprise this week when he informed his Hendrick Motorsports teammates he will remain the driver of the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE through at least 2023 thanks to a new two-year contract extension.

“(I’m) excited about it (and) obviously excited to continue to work with Ally and drive the No. 48 car,” Bowman said. “It’s been a lot of fun this year and cool to have a couple wins already.”

On Tuesday, Bowman and Hendrick Motorsports general manager Jeff Andrews stood at the No. 48 transporter and gathered team members for the announcement.

“I think they all thought I was retiring, so it was a big surprise,” Bowman joked. “They didn’t see it coming, so I’m pretty excited about it.”

Just 16 races into 2021, Bowman already has secured his first career multi-win season. In addition to victories at Richmond Raceway and Dover International Speedway, which have all but clinched the driver’s fourth consecutive NASCAR Cup Series playoff berth, Andrews credited Bowman’s growth off the track.

“It’s been a great experience to watch Alex come up through our program and mature not only as a driver but also as an individual,” Andrews said. “I think the biggest thing that’s been great to watch with Alex is his confidence in himself and his race team. He and (crew chief) Greg Ives have done a great job. They have a great relationship – a lot of confidence in each other – and I think that is something that has really improved with him through his time here at Hendrick Motorsports.”

Full-season primary sponsor Ally, which is also signed through 2023, provided a Nashville-themed lunch to celebrate Bowman’s extension and pump up the team for this weekend’s inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway. As an added bonus, the sponsor also provided a case of beer for each person.

Bowman will seek his third victory of the season – and Ally’s third-ever points win as a primary sponsor – on Sunday at Nashville. The celebration will continue at the Tennessee track when the 28-year-old driver arrives with the Ally Neon Lights Chevrolet designed by Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“It’s really cool to continue working with Ally,” Bowman said. “They have been a lot of fun and I’ve really enjoyed working with them. If we can continue to win races and continue to do all the awesome stuff we are doing, it’s going to be really cool.”

Tune in to see Bowman and the No. 48 Ally team in the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Superspeedway on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.