Christopher Bell has a place to call home for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season. That place is Joe Gibbs Racing after the organization named Bell as driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry and as part of the team’s four-car stable alongside Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.
Bell, a native from Norman, Oklahoma, is currently competing in his first full-time season in the Cup Series as a rookie candidate and in the No. 95 Toyota Camry for Leavine Family Racing. Bell’s move to JGR comes four days after Erik Jones, who is currently in his third season driving the No. 20 Toyota, announced that he will not be returning to the organization for next season. The move also came six days after Bob Leavine, owner of Leavine Family Racing, announced that he has sold his team and that the organization will be ceasing all operations following the 2020 Cup season.
The move to Joe Gibbs Racing is also a reunion for Bell, who first drove for the team as a part-time competitor in the 2017 NASCAR Xfinity Series season before racing full time in 2018. From 2017 to 2019, Bell won 16 Xfinity races and made it all the way to the Championship Round in 2018 and 2019, with a best points result of third place in 2019. In addition, Bell will become the fifth competitor to pilot the iconic No. 20 car for Joe Gibbs Racing since its inception in 1999.
“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,” Bell said. “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.”
“We are excited to bring Christopher into our Cup Series program starting in 2021,” Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, added. “He obviously had tremendous success in the Xfinity Series with us and we look forward to his return to JGR.”
Additional announcements regarding Bell’s crew chief and sponsors for next season will be announced at a later date.
Through the first 22 races of this year’s Cup season, Bell has notched one top-five result and five top-10 results. He is ranked 19th in the regular-season standings and is 122 points below the top-16 cutline to make the 2020 Cup Playoffs with four regular-season races remaining.
The NASCAR Cup Series will return to action on Sunday, August 16, for the inaugural race at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course, which will air at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.