Bell flattered but unswayed by Cup rumors

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Bell flattered but unswayed by Cup rumors

NASCAR

Bell flattered but unswayed by Cup rumors

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Christopher Bell is flattered by the chatter about his potential future in the NASCAR Cup Series, but he loves where he’s at right now.

“Honestly, I love these Xfinity cars,” Bell said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. “They’re a ton of fun to drive, and I sent Wayne [Auton, Xfinity Series managing director] a text this last week saying that I love the Xfinity rules package right now.

“I don’t know if it’s the small spoiler, the small splitter, whatever it is, but I feel like dirty air is not really that big of a deal in these cars. So they’re a ton of fun to drive, and they’re a lot of fun to race too.”

Bell is in his second full Xfinity season after winning the 2017 Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship. A consistent winner and highly praised talent, there has been speculation surrounding Bell’s likely Cup future for over a year.

Joe Gibbs Racing would need to make room for him, however. All four of its cars — the maximum allowed by a team — are occupied by Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Erik Jones, and Martin Truex Jr.

Busch, the 2015 champion, signed a contract extension in February while Truex, who won the title in 2017, just joined the organization following the closure of Furniture Row Racing.

Hamlin said last year he’s going to be around “for a long time” with the deal he has in place, and on Thursday Jones told NBC Sports that he’s also working toward an extension.

“I never really pictured Erik being my hole (into the Cup Series), and if you look at the Gibbs camp right now, I can’t really picture anyone being my hole because all four cars are running exceptional,” said Bell.

“If you watch any of the races, all four of them are right in the top five, so I don’t know. I don’t know where I’m going to land. I’m just enjoying the ride right now.”

It’s also too early to try to figure it out, and Bell lets the chatter go in one ear and out the other. Plus, he admits he has no control over the future, and he’s not asked or heard what will happen in 2020.

“It’s still early in the year,” he said. “Normally I don’t figure out where I land until August-ish. We’re definitely way early in the year to know where I’m going to be.”

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