Source: Brandon James – Hendrick Motorsports
CONCORD, N.C. – Taking the reins of two iconic car numbers as a young driver is not an easy assignment.
But 20-year-old William Byron and 24-year old Alex Bowman are ready to step into the No. 24 No. 88 Chevrolets, respectively, and win.
Having a solid support system and the resources to succeed has helped Bowman be ready.
“I am just able to lean on a lot of people with a lot more knowledge and I have a lot more resources at my disposal,” Bowman said. “I’m very thankful for that and I think I have more tools to use to be ready.”
Having seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson on the team can help a young driver, too.
“I think I’m going to lean on him the most I can,” Bowman said.
While Byron agreed that Johnson is a tremendous asset as he transitions to a new series, he has also kept in touch with a former driver of the No. 24 Chevy, Jeff Gordon. And Byron will be led by a Cup Series champion crew chief in Darian Grubb.
“You don’t find people like that very often, and I feel like he is an asset to our organization,” Byron said of Grubb. “I feel like we’re both most comfortable when we’re working around the racetrack and working in that environment. I think the combination of the two of us is going to make for good calls and aggressive decisions. I feel he’s pretty aggressive with how he approaches the weekend, and you want somebody like that.”
Byron’s deep knowledge at a young age has already stood out to his veteran teammates.
Both Johnson and Chase Elliott pointed to the incoming rookie’s preparation, and Elliott has been amazed by Byron’s rise through the ranks.
“I don’t think he’s lost in anything he’s got in to this point,” Elliott said. “I don’t expect him to start losing now. I think he’s a very committed person in general, and he’s willing to work and do what it takes to be good.”
Bowman and Byron both have the same expectations as they embark on the 2018 season.
“Well, they hired me to go win races and contend for championships, and that is what I plan on doing,” Bowman said.
And both young drivers said Hendrick Motorsports provides them with the greatest opportunity to do just that.
“This is really a dream come true to be part of the Cup Series and be with a great race team that has a chance to win,” Byron said. “I think, for us, we’re going to try to win races. We have all the resources and tools to do that.”