By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Current NASCAR Cup Series rookie Christopher Bell will make the jump from Leavine Family Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021, replacing Erik Jones in the No. 20 Toyota Camry.
Last Thursday, JGR made the announcement that Jones will be ousted at the end of the 2020 campaign. Four days later, the team made its official decision that Bell will be the fourth driver to pilot the No. 20 car.
This came to be after last Tuesday’s confirmation that LFR will sell its assets to another owner, ending a 1o-year run in NASCAR. That in mind, Bell commented about being a part of the No. 95 team and his joy of running for JGR next season.
“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,” said Bell. “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.”
Owner Joe Gibbs shares the same sentiment of bringing Bell back to their four-car operation. Only this time, at the highest level as Bell spent three years competing in the Xfinity Series with mesmerizing success.
“We are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021,” said Gibbs. “He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”
In those three years, the 2017 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series champion won 16 races, 12 poles, 41 top-fives and 46 top-10 finishes in 74 races. Once becoming full-time in 2018, Bell made the Championship 4 each year with last season’s third-place season effort being his best.
Since jumping into the Cup Series in 2020, Bell has shown flashes of brilliance with five top-10s, including a season-best fourth in the first Pocono race. After 22 races, he’s currently 19th in points, needing a win to punch his ticket into the playoffs with four regular season races remaining.