Do the Math: 5 Fast Facts Behind Hendrick Motorsports Number Swap
In something of a surprise announcement, Hendrick Motorsports has decided to ditch the No. 5 that has raced in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continually since its inception in 1984 as All-Star Racing.
Next year, the Hendrick Cup lineup will look like this:
- Alex Bowman will drive the No. 88, replacing the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson will remain in the No. 48.
- Rookie William Byron will drive the No. 24.
- Chase Elliott’s car number will switch to the No. 9.
Here are five fast facts about the number changes for the team in 2017.
The No. 9
Chase Elliott’s father, 1988 NASCAR Premier Series champion Bill Elliott, won 38 of his 44 races driving the No. 9 and Chase carried that number when he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series title in 2014. Five drivers have won a total of 53 Premier Series races in the No. 9. And in a weird bit of irony, the driver who ranks second to Elliott in victories in the No. 9 is outgoing Hendrick driver Kasey Kahne, with 11 wins in that car number, all before he joined Hendrick. Marcos Ambrose (2), Donald Thomas (1) and Herb Thomas (1) also won with that car number
The No. 24
Just 19 years old right now, William Byron will be taking over one of the most iconic car numbers in NASCAR history next season. No pressure, but consider this fact: The No. 24 has competed in 1,437 Premier Series races, with only one driver finding Victory Lane with that number. Jeff Gordon won 93 races in the No. 24, but no one else has ever won with that car number on the side.
The No. 48
The one constant for the Hendrick armada next year is seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who has been paired with crew chief Chad Knaus and sponsor Lowe’s since his rookie season of 2002. Johnson has won 83 races in the No. 48 and is one of only three drivers to win with that number. The others are James Hylton (2) and Bill Norton (1).
The No. 88
Next year, Alex Bowman will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88, a car Earnhardt has driven to nine wins since joining Hendrick in 2008. The No. 88 has had a lot of success over the years, with some very famous names posting wins in it. Four drivers already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame have won Cup races in the No. 88: Dale Jarrett won 28 races with the No. 88, Darrell Waltrip won 26, Bobby Allison took eight wins and Buck Baker won three times.
The No. 25
No, Hendrick won’t campaign the No. 25 — a number it used to run — next year, but consider this: In 2018, the only Hendrick driver who will be more than 25 years old is Johnson, who will turn 43 on Sept. 17, 2018. Byron is 19 years old now, Elliott 21 and Bowman 24. It looks like Hendrick will be set for years to come with a seven-time champion and three young guns.