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Alex Bowman ‘not worried’ after Nationwide departure, support of Hendrick ‘means a lot’

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CONCORD, N.C. — Five days after it was announced he’d be losing Nationwide Insurance as a sponsor after this season, Alex Bowman is “not worried” as his second full-time season with Hendrick Motorsports continues.

“Nothing’s changed,” Bowman said Monday during a media event for sponsors Axalta and CARSTAR. “It’s business as usual. We’ve got to go win races this year and try to contend for a championship. I’m not worried about anything and just trying to do my job the best I can.”

Bowman has incentive to not worry about his future in the No. 88 Chevrolet. The 26 year-old driver is signed through the 2020 season and owner Rick Hendrick expressed his support for him when Nationwide’s departure was announced.

“Alex is having a breakout season and showing the world just how talented he is,” Hendrick said in a statement. “He’s signed through next year (2020) and will be a big part of our future.”

That support goes a long way for Bowman, who succeeded Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 after the 2017 season.

“It means a lot for him to have the faith in me to support me like that in a situation like this,” Bowman said of Hendrick. “I really appreciate it and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. This is where I want to be. So it means a lot.”

Bowman has 132 Cup starts since 2014, with 62 of those coming with Hendrick. The last two months have seen his best success yet, with him earning three consecutive runner-up finishes, followed by two top 10s in the last three races.

“The Cup Series is a really stressful, cut-throat place and I think this has probably been the most fun I’ve had in a Cup car for sure,” Bowman said. “I feel like we were still really strong everywhere (following the runner-up finishes), we just didn’t put the races together cleanly as we did the previous weeks. Our cars have gotten so much better. We haven’t changed one part or piece, everything’s just gotten better and easier for us.”

Bowman said consistency like he’s enjoyed over the last two months will “absolutely” pay off come the playoffs.

“But I’m not looking at any of that,” said Bowman, who is 11th in the standings with 11 races left in the regular season. “I’m just trying to go win each week. I think it’s a big thing for us. Obviously, we’ve been really close this year and we need to finish one off.”

Nationwide ending sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports after this season

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Nationwide Insurance will end its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports after this season, the team has confirmed.

Nationwide is a primary sponsor of Alex Bowman‘s No. 88 Chevrolet and has been a sponsor of Hendrick since 2014 when it sponsored Dale Earnhardt Jr. in September at Richmond. Nationwide became a regular primary sponsor in 2015.

The move by Nationwide was first reported by Sports Business Journal.

Nationwide said in a statement that the decision is a result of “adjusting our marketing resources to ensure that we are aligning to … new business priorities.”

Bowman is in his second full-time season in the No. 88. He is 10th in the standings and has three top fives this year, all runner-up finishes. Nationwide has been the primary sponsor on Bowman’s car for 10 of the first 15 races this season.

Owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement that Nationwide’s departure will not impact Bowman’s place with the team and that he is a “big part of our future.” Bowman is signed with the team through 2020.

Rick Hendrick statement

“We understand the changing dynamics of business, and we’re grateful to the entire team at Nationwide for their wonderful partnership over the past five years. Whether it’s been winning races, competing in the NASCAR playoffs or our recent on-track performance, we have accomplished so much together. Off the track, we have been just as successful, from collaborating on national advertising campaigns to supporting the important mission of Nationwide Children’s Hospital. It has been a pleasure to work with all of their people and to help drive Nationwide’s business forward.

“Alex (Bowman) is having a breakout season and showing the world just how talented he is. He’s signed through next year (2020) and will be a big part of our future. The momentum we’re building as a sport is due in large part to NASCAR’s leadership and a unique combination of emerging personalities like Alex, established stars and the exciting shows our racing is putting on. There’s tremendous confidence in the product we have to offer our fans and partners.”

Alex Bowman statement

“I owe a lot to Nationwide. They wanted me as their driver and have supported me from the beginning, which I can’t thank them enough for. I’m proud to represent them and have a lot of appreciation for all the awesome people I’ve met and worked with. I couldn’t be more positive about my No. 88 team and what the future holds for us this year and beyond. I know we’re just scratching the surface, and I’m pumped for what’s ahead. We appreciate the role Nationwide has played in our success.”

Nationwide Insurance statement

“Since 2015, Nationwide has had the pleasure of being the primary sponsor of the No. 88 team — first with Dale Earnhardt Jr. as the driver and then with Alex Bowman. In that time, the platform has played a valuable role in building the Nationwide brand, sharing with NASCAR fans our noble purpose of protecting what matters most to our members and raising money and awareness for Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

“As Nationwide’s business needs evolve, we are adjusting our marketing resources to ensure that we are aligning to those new business priorities.

“With that in mind, we have informed Hendrick Motorsports of our decision to step away from our sponsorship of the 88 team at the end of the year. We have not made this decision lightly, given our 20-plus year involvement in NASCAR and our deep appreciation for Rick Hendrick, Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, and the millions of NASCAR fans we have engaged with over the years.

“Nationwide will continue to leverage our sponsorship for the rest of 2019 and have many special activations planned. In 2020, we will host partners at select NASCAR races and continue our relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

“We thank Mr. Hendrick for a wonderful five years and wish him and the entire Hendrick Motorsports organization the very best in their future endeavors.”

What might have been: Dale Earnhardt Jr. shares rejected Nationwide paint schemes

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You never know when Dale Earnhardt Jr. will strike.

At any moment Earnhardt’s Twitter account could provide a valuable insight on the state of NASCAR, a Tweetstorm detailing the history of a short track car he raced or some random retro photos from NASCAR’s yesteryear.

On Thursday, the NBC Sports analyst provided a nice “What if?”

After a user posted a series of NASCAR paint schemes that never saw the light of day, Earnhardt shared an almost one minute video. The video included a multitude of concept Nationwide paint schemes for his old No. 88 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports.

Watch the video in the tweet below.

For sake of comparison here are the primary Nationwide schemes that graced the No. 88 during Earnhardt’s tenure driving with the sponsor from 2015-17.

2017

(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

 

2016

 

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

 

2015

 

(Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

 

 and on Facebook

Dale Jr. Download: Alex Bowman reveals how he learned of Nationwide’s contract extension

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There were some tense moments for Alex Bowman before he learned his primary sponsor, Nationwide Insurance, had agreed to a two-year extension with Hendrick Motorsports.

That news was announced last week in conjunction with Bowman’s one-year extension.

But for a few minutes, Bowman feared Nationwide might actually be leaving the team.

Bowman shared the story on this week’s Dale Jr. Download.

“I was in the shop with the guys for all our Tuesday meetings,” Bowman said. “I got a text from (PR rep) Kelsey (Tucker), that said, ‘Hey, can you come upstairs (for a meeting)?'” Bowman said. “I said, ‘What’s it about?’ She said, ‘Well, did you hear about Nationwide?’

“I was like, ‘Oh no. What did I do wrong?'”

Bowman called it the “most ominous text message ever.”

“My heart is pounding, right?” Bowman said. “I’m like, ‘Hopefully that’s good news and not bad news.'”

Tucker responded, “Yeah, they signed back up for two years.”

“I was like, ‘Thank you, baby Jesus,'” Bowman said. “That was a pretty frantic two-and-a-half minutes waiting for her to text me back.”

Watch the above video for more.

Hendrick Motorsports signs extensions with Alex Bowman, Nationwide through 2020

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Alex Bowman and Nationwide Insurance will be with Hendrick Motorsports through 2020, the team announced Thursday.

Bowman signed a one-year extension with the team, while Nationwide entered an two-year extension to sponsor the No. 88 Chevrolet in 20 races in 2019 and 2020.

The company is the primary sponsor for 19 races this season.

The news comes four days after Bowman, 25, placed third at Pocono Raceway for the best finish of his Cup career.

Bowman, who has 102 career starts, is in his first full season with Hendrick after replacing Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88.

Nationwide joined Hendrick as a corporate sponsor in 2014 and was a primary sponsor of Earnhardt from 2015-17.

“Having this kind of support is incredible,” Bowman said a press release. “From Nationwide and our other partners to Mr. Hendrick, (crew chief) Greg (Ives) and all my teammates, I feel very fortunate to be in such an awesome position. We have an opportunity to have a lot of success together. To hear a sponsor like Nationwide and a team like Hendrick Motorsports say I’m their guy gives me a ton of confidence and motivation to go out there and deliver results.”

Bowman has been a member of the Hendrick organization since Oct. 2016 when he signed during his tenure as a substitute driver for Earnhardt, who missed the final 18 races of the season due to a concussion.

“We have such a strong partnership with Nationwide,” said Rick Hendrick in the press release. “From doing great things in the community with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to driving significant value back to their business, it’s truly impressive to see how they consistently make the maximum impact with their racing program. We appreciate the incredible relationship with their whole team and look forward to more great things in the coming years.

“Alex has the talent to win races and compete for championships. He and Greg are clicking, and we have a lot of confidence in what they will accomplish together. From our driver and team to our sponsors, we have an exciting No. 88 program that’s set for the foreseeable future.”

Through 21 races this season Bowman has two top fives and eight top 10s along with earning the pole for the Daytona 500.

He is 15th in the point standings with five races left in the regular season.