Alex Bowman replacing Jimmie Johnson in #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro for 2021

Alex Bowman is changing cars in 2021 but staying on the same NASCAR team.

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The Hendrick Motorsports driver is moving from the #88 Chevrolet Camaro to the #48 car that’s being vacated by the retiring Jimmie Johnson.

The shift marks the second time in his Cup Career that Bowman has followed in the footsteps of a NASCAR legend, having taken over the #88 car from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2018.

The #48 car was launched in 2001 for Johnson when he entered the Cup Series and has been his ever since.

“It’s definitely pretty similar, you go from (replacing) the most popular driver of all time to (replacing) arguably the greatest of all time,” Bowman said

Bowman and Johnson have been driving together for the past three seasons.

Bowman and Johnson have been driving together for the past three seasons. (AP Photo/Terry Renna)

“It’s just an honor for me to get to drive another car with a great number,” he said. “I know I’m going to get a lot of the same questions I’ve answered the last couple of years, just replace Jimmie Johnson for Dale Earnhardt Jr. For everyone who has the confidence in me to do it just means the world to me.”

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According to the Associated Press, the #48 car’s main sponsor, Ally, pressed for a driver who could compete for the championship next year. Bowman, 27, has made the playoffs for three years running and is currently in sixth place with one race to go before the round of eight.

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Bowman’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports runs through the end of 2021. The team has not yet announced who will drive the #88 car next year, but Kyle Larson, who was suspended from the series and let go by Chip Ganassi Racing earlier this year for using a racial slur, is believed to be one of the top candidates for the seat.

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Larson posted a lengthy essay on his website this week explaining the steps he has taken to better understand the issue of racism and said there is “absolutely no excuse for my ignorance” in using the N-word during the broadcast of an online simulation race.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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