With Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring at the conclusion of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, that means Hendrick Motorsports will look a lot different in 2018, so the team decided to design a few new cars to get the process started.
NASCAR announced a couple of months ago the Chevy SS currently featured in the Cup series would be replaced by the new Camaro ZL1. However, that was far from the only change made to Hendrick’s four-car racing team.
For starters, Chase Elliott will no longer be driving the no. 24 Chevrolet. Instead, he’ll be piloting the No. 9 Camaro ZL1 sponsored by Napa Auto Parts. Longtime NASCAR fans might recall that’s the number Chase’s father, Bill Elliott, had on his racecar when he won the 1986 Cup Series championship, according to a report by AutoWeek.
Another big change announced during Thursday’s press conference at the NASCAR Hall of Fame was the No. 24 car has a fiery new paint job, which is reminiscent of the paint scheme Gordon ran on the No. 24 when he captured his fourth title in 2001.
With both Earnhardt Jr. and Gordon out of the picture for 2018, that leaves Alex Bowman to drive the No. 88 and William Byron to pilot the No. 24, respectively.
The fourth Team Hendrick car will continue to be piloted by seven-time champ Jimmie Johnson, who is one of the driver’s competing in this year’s NASCAR playoffs. In fact, one more title would break Johnson’s tie with racing icons Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Sr. for the most titles ever in NASCAR’s premier series.