Joe Gibbs suggested that he has a plan to retain both Erik Jones and Christopher Bell within his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team.
The problem for Bell is the appearance that Gibbs has no vacancies for the foreseeable future.
Kyle Busch recently signed an extension through 2022, Martin Truex Jr. is in the first year of a multi-year agreement and Denny Hamlin dismissed the notion that he was ever on the hotseat, especially in the aftermath of winning his second Daytona 500 and another win at Texas Motor Speedway.
Meanwhile, Erik Jones revealed over the weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway that he was close to inking an extension at Gibbs
So where does that leave Bell, Toyota’s top prospect and a two-race winner this season in the Xfinity Series?
"I think for us, you don’t comment much on the future other than to say Christopher has a place with us long‑term, and so does Erik,” Gibbs said after Sunday’s Cup race. “That’s our goal. That’s what we’ll keep working on. It’s great to have young people coming, young talent. It’s very important for us. We all know that."
Bell is a Toyota-developed driver and there is just one other TRD team in Leavine Family Racing, which currently field the No. 95 for Matt DiBenedetto. The team has expressed a desire to expand to a second car in the near future.
As for Bell, he said on Friday that he never saw Jones’ seat in the No. 20 as his path to the Cup Series.
"If you look at the Gibbs camp now, I can’t picture anyone being my hole because all four cars are running exceptional now," Bell said. "Watch any of the races, all four are right in the top five. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I’m just enjoying the ride now."
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