NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon heaped high praise on Alex Bowman.
The 4 time Cup champion sees nothing but good things for the man taking the retiring Dale Earnhardt, Jr’s ride in 2018 for Hendrick MotorSports. In a segment of NASCAR’s Up To Speed, recorded at the unveiling of next year’s new HMS’s paint schemes, Gordon said he knows the pressure Bowman will face jumping into the #88 car.
“I don’t know if I’ve felt as much pressure trying to fill in for Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I mean there are cameras everywhere, everybody’s watching wanting to see ‘what are you gonna do, what are you gonna do.”
Gordon said Bowman more than proved he’s capable and can handle the pressure when he was a temporary fill-in in 2016 while Earnhardt, Jr. recovered from a concussion. In 10 races, Bowman had 3 top ten finishes and won the pole in Phoenix.
“Yeah, we all focus on Phoenix, but he did just as outstanding of a job at other races where he was behind the wheel,” Gordan said.
Taking the ride of NASCAR’s most popular driver over the last decade definitely has pressure, but Bowman told NASCAR.com he’s worked hard to get this opportunity and won’t change what got him here.
“I’m my own person; I’m not trying to be Dale Earnhardt Jr, I’m trying to be myself,” he said. “The thing I’m focused on most is going and winning races; the rest of it will come and I’m just really thankful to have the opportunity to do that. Hopefully the Jr. Nation will be still be rooting for the 88 on Sundays.”
Bowman joins Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and William Byron as part of the 4-car HMS Monster Energy Series Cup teams.