Last week two events occurred in NASCAR that had the potential to cause a major shakeup among the NASCAR Cup Series – Leavine Family Racing announced that they were selling the team, leaving the fate of rookie driver Christopher Bell uncertain and the announcement that Erik Jones would not be returning to driver the Joe Gibbs Racing number 20 car next season.
On Monday, August 10, the two news items collided when Joe Gibbs Racing made the announcement that Christopher Bell would be joining JGR as the new driver of the number 20 car next season.
The Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate spoke on the news saying, “I’m so appreciative of the opportunity I have this year with LFR and I want to finish this season strong for Bob (Leavine) and everyone there. At the same time, I’m extremely excited to return to Joe Gibbs Racing starting in 2021. It’s an organization I’m very comfortable with and have had a lot of success with.”
Bell will join current JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr, and Denny Hamlin. He follows Tony Stewart, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, and Erik Jones as drivers of the number 20 car.
JGR team owner Joe Gibbs spoke on adding Christopher Bell to his lineup of drivers saying, “we are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021. He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”
Prior to moving up to the NASCAR Cup Series this year, Bell drove for JGR in the Xfinity Series; winning 16 races. While driving in the Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Bell was crowned the Truck Series champion.
Before coming to NASCAR, Bell drove sprint-cars and was the winner of the Chili Bowl Nationals three years in a row. The Oklahoma native has also added five World of Outlaw victories to his credit.
feature photo credit: By Zach Catanzareti – https://www.flickr.com/photos/58980992@N03/45277725914, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=85652878