UPDATE: The report from Sport Business Journal has been made official, and Rick Hendrick and Alex Bowman have released statements on the departure of Nationwide Insurance.
“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,” Hendrick said. “Whether it’s been winning races, competing in the NASCAR Playoffs or our recent on-track performance, we have accomplished so much together.”
“I owe a lot to Nationwide,” Bowman stated. “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.”
Alex Bowman has had a resurgence as of late. The driver of the No. 88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 had three consecutive runner-up finishes at Talladega, Dover and Kansas. He also has five top-10 finishes in the past six races.
The recent turn around in performance will not keep Bowman’s sponsor on the No. 88 for the 2020 season according to a report from the Sports Business Journal.
In the report, it appears that Nationwide will be using a clause in their deal with Hendrick Motorsports to leave the deal a year early (they had inked a two year extension last season).
The report cites the company going through significant business changes as a reason for the move.
⚡@Nationwide will end its sponsorship of @TeamHendrick after this year, using an early out clause in its contract, as the company goes through several significant changes to its business.
➖ Nationwide to retain a presence in NASCAR with a @DaleJr PSA and some race hospitality. pic.twitter.com/Fc6tLAZjdc
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) June 12, 2019
This is a huge blow to Bowman, who has really showed some promise behind the wheel lately.
Nationwide has sponsored a large chunk of the races for the No. 88 team for several years. If Bowman is to race for HMS in 2020 or beyond, those sponsorship gaps will most likely need to be filled.