When Alex Bowman took over as the driver of the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, he was well aware he had some big shoes to fill. And in the final year of his contract with Hendrick he entered 2021 facing a somewhat uncertain future.
After his second win of the season, and the fourth of his career, Sunday at Dover, his future is a little less certain.
Team owner Rick Hendrick let it be known after the race that Bowman has a place at his team confirming that contract negotiations for a multi-year deal are already underway.
“It should be done any time,” Hendrick said. “We want Alex there. He wants to be there. It’s kind of at this point just a formality.”
That formality according to Hendrick is due in large part to sponsor Ally willing to stay on.
“When you say you have to replace Jimmie Johnson, they were more than willing and wanted to let Alex have a chance,” he said. Adding that he wasn’t expecting a Jimmie Johnson replica.
“I told Alex, You’ve got to be your own guy,” Hendrick said. “You can’t be Jimmie Johnson light. You got to be Alex Bowman, just do your deal. We are going to be there with you and you’re going to do great.
“I just didn’t want Alex to have too much pressure on him getting in that situation. That is some big shoes to fill. No different than going behind Dale or Jeff Gordon, all the championships he has.
But I think Alex has embraced it really well. He and Greg (crew chief Greg Ives) are very good together. And Ally does a ton of promoting and they really like him. It’s all good.”
So he may not be a Jimmie Johnson ‘light” but just who is Alex Bowman then?
“Race car driver, weirdo, awkward human,” Bowman said with a laugh.
“I don’t know. I feel like I’m just a regular guy. I obviously really enjoy what I get to do. Put a lot of time and hard work into trying to be the best race car driver I can be. I don’t have any, like, extravagant hobby. I don’t have, like, this super big personality. I’m not a villain like you see some of the other guys. I guess I don’t have that. I just kind of am myself.
“I like to spend time at home with my dogs. I have a small group of friends. Spend a ton of time at my shop working on the Sprint car stuff. Every day that I’m not at Hendrick Motorsports, I’m in the simulator, at the shop, laying underneath a race car working on it.
“Yeah, that’s about all there is to it for my life.”
That life now includes four wins in the NASCAR Cup series, and it appears a home at Hendrick Motorsports for some time to come.