Christopher Bell says nothing is official about his 2020 plans until it comes from him or the team, and he has no news to report.
Bell has been rumored to move into the NASCAR Cup Series next season, and early Thursday it was announced that Matt DiBenedetto will part with Leavine Family Racing at the end of the year. Leavine has a technical partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Bell drives full-time in the Xfinity Series.
But as of Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway, Bell said he does not know what he’s doing next season.
“Like I’ve said time and time again, my future’s not really in my hands, so the only thing I can control is if I can go out there and try and win races and do as good as I can,” he said. “Just have to play the cards how they fall.
“Ultimately it’s the car owners,” he continued about the decision. “It’s Coach [Joe Gibbs] himself deciding where he wants my future to go right now, so it’s ultimately up to the car owners what drivers they want to put into the cars. The only thing I can do, like I said, is try and put my best results and go out there and do as good as I can and prove to them I deserve to be in the Cup Series.”
Earlier in the day Erik Jones said he is “really close” to an extension with JGR. Jones has been in the No. 20 Toyota for two seasons after running his rookie campaign with Furniture Row Racing.
Although he has repeatedly said this year he’s confident about returning to JGR next season, Jones’s name has not escaped silly season as some have speculated he could lose his ride to Bell.
“We’re really close,” said Jones after Xfinity Series practice. “Nothing’s been signed yet, but we’re definitely really close on getting a deal done, I hope, in the next couple of weeks. I don’t have any plans of going anywhere else. I see myself hopefully announcing something here pretty soon, but not signed yet. Nothing’s done. But definitely going in the right direction.”
Jones offered a small laugh that his fans shouldn’t worry about covering up their No. 20 tattoos.
“Like I said, I hope we can announce something soon,” he said. “I don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse at all, but we’re all really close on something.”