Hendrick tester Bowman to replace retiring Earnhardt in NASCAR 2018

Hendrick Motorsports has confirmed its test driver Alex Bowman will replace the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr in its NASCAR Cup line-up next season

Hendrick tester Bowman to replace retiring Earnhardt in NASCAR 2018

Bowman made 10 stand-in appearances for the team last year while Earnhardt was sidelined with concussion, recording three top 10 finishes as well as a maiden pole position at Phoenix.

The team announced on Thursday that the 24-year-old would drive its #88 car in 2018 after Earnhardt takes up his retirement at the end of the current campaign.

"I would never have this chance without the support of Dale and everyone involved with the No. 88 team," Bowman said.

"To be part of Hendrick Motorsports and for Mr Hendrick to have this confidence in me, it's just amazing.

"The No. 88 team is such a great group of people.

"I know we can pick up where we left off last year, and I truly believe we can win races and contend for a championship.

"Now I just want to go win."

Team owner Rick Hendrick said Bowman's performances during his stand-in spell had proved he was capable of stepping up to the seat full-time.

"Alex impressed the heck out of us last year with his talent, poise and professionalism," said Hendrick.

"He stepped up in a very demanding situation and showed that he can run with the best and compete for wins.

"His ability to stay focused through it all, and the way he's handled himself since then, has shown a lot of character.

"Greg [Ives, crew chief] and the team loved working with Alex, and that dynamic will get even better with more time together."

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