Driver Alex Bowman has signed a contract extension with Henrick Motorsports. He will remain in the No. 88 Chevrolet through the 2021 season, starting on Sunday. Bowman will look for a victory during The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington Raceway, which would be his second of the season.
The 27-year-old Bowman first announced the news of his extension on Saturday morning. Hendrick Motorsports confirmed the deal by retweeting the hype video. "And he's just getting started. Proud to have you on our team!" the organization wrote. He was heading for free agency at the end of the 2020 Cup Series season and was hoping that he would remain with HMS.
Pumped to lock down the contract extension for 2021! Couldn’t be more excited to return to @TeamHendrick next season and keep the good times rolling in the 88! Thanks for all the support, can’t wait to get to Darlington tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/b1YNHViR5n— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) May 16, 2020
"Yeah, not really. I guess everything is kind of put on hold right now," Bowman said in April about a potential extension. "Obviously, I want to be at HMS for a long time, but I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully, they're working on it, for sure."
Bowman made these comments after winning the virtual GEICO 70 at virtual Talladega Superspeedway. He narrowly defeated Corey LaJoie and Ryan Preece in overtime and conducted a virtual burnout to celebrate. Although Bowman clarified that one of his dogs, Finn, had actually been driving during the win. This strategy is one that the driver incorporated during previous events, only to crash and lose.
Bowman originally got his start with the No. 88 Chevrolet in 2016. He took over as a 10-race substitute for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. He has remained with HMS since and secured his first Cup Series victory at Chicagoland Speedway during the 2019 season. Bowman started the 2020 season off strongly, securing a victory at the Auto Club 400.
During this race in Southern California, Bowman led for 110 of the 200 laps. He beat runner-up Kyle Busch by nearly nine seconds and led to increased talks about how he could secure a long-term extension with HMS. Bowman currently sits in fourth place in the standings heading toward Sunday's race at Darlington. He's six points behind his teammate, Chase Elliott, and seven points ahead of another teammate, Jimmie Johnson.