Christopher Bell did not confirm reports on Thursday that he would drive for Leavine Family Racing in 2020.
If Christopher Bell knows what he is driving next year, and surely he does, he is not telling until he gets proper approval.
When Leavine Family Racing revealed on Thursday morning that Matt DiBenedetto would not return to the No. 95, it all but confirmed months of speculation that Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing would leverage its technical alliance with the smaller team to provide Bell a place to race next season.
There were multiple reports on Thursday that Erik Jones had signed a one-year extension with Gibbs to remain in the No. 20 Cup Series entry and that Bell would take over for DiBenedetto next season, but the current NASCAR Xfinity Series wins leader wasn’t budging.
“I’m sure everybody is wondering about 2020, but nothing is official until it comes from me or whatever team,” Bell said on Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I have no news to tell you guys right now. We’ll just have to wait for another day.”
Christopher Bell agreed to speak to the media for a couple of minutes.
He's laughing because we crowded him immediately for answers on his future and he couldn't confirm anything.
He said nothing is official until we hear it from a team or himself. pic.twitter.com/cvAfQnYO7s
Further, Bell says he actually doesn’t know what he’s doing next year.
“It’s still all the way up in the air,” Bell said. “There’s a number of different cars that I could drive next year. I mean obviously I could still run the Xfinity Series, I could go to the Cup Series. It’s not in my hands right now. Just have to go out there and try and continue to win races and ultimately that’s the only way I’m going to better myself is if I can win races.”
Bell also said that it isn’t lost on him that his future is seemingly tied to displacing someone else — be it Jones or DiBenedetto.
“It’s obviously unfortunate that there’s only so many car owners, right? This sport as a whole needs more car owner,” Bell said. “We need more people out there to give opportunities to young guys. We’ve got a bunch of veterans like Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards, right, that are still out there that could probably still win today.
“Ultimately, we need more car owners in this sport to give more opportunities and it would be a better situation for everybody, for sure.”
Of note, Bell doesn’t have an agent either, choosing to handle everything himself.
“It is very stressful, but I do have a job for next year, so ultimately that’s all that really matters,” Bell said. “I’ll be racing something, whether it’s in the Cup Series or the Xfinity Series. I do have a job, so that’s really good.”
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