Bell focusing on Xfinity; Hemric pondering his options

Image by Russell LaBounty/LAT

Bell focusing on Xfinity; Hemric pondering his options


Bell focusing on Xfinity; Hemric pondering his options


Christopher Bell has reiterated that he’s focused on running for the Xfinity Series championship in 2019, while one of his prominent competitors there is unsure what he will be doing.

Bell’s name has been repeatedly brought up in the NASCAR silly season fodder — whether he winds up, somehow, at Joe Gibbs Racing, or in at Leavine Family Racing, which is rumored to be switching to Toyota. Plus, the current driver at LFR, Kasey Kahne, announced Thursday morning he’s done racing full-time after this season. But the 23-year-old Xfinity Series point leader wasn’t baited into that option.

“That was all news to me,” Bell (pictured at left, with Hemric) said at Bristol Motor Speedway. “Right now, I’ve got a great group of people and getting to drive for all of our partners at Ruud and Rheem, GameStop, and I’ve got great race cars at Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota support.

“Right now, that’s the only thing I’ve got is that I’m finishing out this year and then next year I’m going for the Xfinity championship again with all of our same partners. I’m proud to represent Rheem, Ruud, GameStop, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota and all of the above.”

In contrast, Daniel Hemric said he does not have any plans finalized for 2019.

“Cloudy,” said Hemric of what his future looks like. “Very cloudy.”

Hemric (21) duels with Bell. (Image by Matthew Thacker/LAT)

Hemric has been in the Richard Childress Racing camp for two seasons now, making the Championship 4 last season. He is another driver who some are theorizing will slot into a Cup Series car next season.

RCR runs two Cup Series cars and will have a third charter to decide on for next season, when the one they leased to StarCom Racing returns.

“It’s obviously good to be a part of the conversation,” said Hemric. “You hope in life you have opportunities to do your part and make sure you make it tough for people to figure out what they want to do with you. I’m extremely thankful for South Point Hotel and Casino and [team owner] Richard Childress for giving me a shot to wake up on the weekends and go drive a race car for a living. I try to grab [all this] by the horns and understand that the position I’m in is second to none, and all of us are fortunate to do what we do and call it a job. That’s incredible still to think about.

“I don’t know where it’s going to end up or how it’s going to all play out. But I know Richard’s doing all he can to make sure hopefully there’s a spot for me, and if there’s not, I’ll feel out any option out there because as of right now, I don’t have my name signed on any line for the following year. I’m trying to do everything I can on the racetrack to prove to somebody who may be willing to put me in a car and give me a shot — and hopefully, when that shot comes, I can take advantage of it.”

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