Alex Bowman to replace Dale Jr. in No. 88 car in 2018

Alex Bowman will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car next year, Hendrick Motorsports announced on Thursday. 

Earnhardt, who has publicly endorsed Bowman as his replacement, will retire from full-time NASCAR Cup racing. Bowman will have sponsorship from Nationwide and Axalta for the bulk of the season, Hendrick Motorsports announced. 

"Ever since I was a kid, racing is all I've wanted to do," the 24-year-old Bowman said in a release. "I've had so many people believe in me along the way. My family has sacrificed a lot and always been behind me. "I would never have this chance without the support of Dale and everyone involved with the No. 88 team. To be part of Hendrick Motorsports and for Mr. (Rick) Hendrick to have this confidence in me, it's just amazing." 

Bowman shared substitute driving duties with Jeff Gordon when Earnhardt missed 18 races with a concussion last year. 

"Alex impressed the heck out of us last year with his talent, poise and professionalism," Hendrick said. "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 and the team loved working with Alex, and that dynamic will get even better with more time together." 

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