Christopher Bell Highlights Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch’s 2020 Struggles But Expects a Strong 2021 Season

Published 12/26/2020, 9:36 AM EST
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 08: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, Erik Jones, driver of the #20 STANLEY Wish For Our Heros Toyota, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, and Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #19 AOI Toyota, pose for a photo with the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series trophy to start the playoffs following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 08, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

The Joe Gibbs Racing NASCAR Cup Series outfit is set to have a new addition to their ranks. Youngster Christopher Bell will join a star-studded line-up, already consisting of Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr.


Article continues below this ad

While most other teams on the grid would envy such a line-up, the team performed below standard as a unit in the 2020 season. The newest addition, Bell, feels 2020 was a ‘down year’ for Joe Gibbs Racing, despite Hamlin winning as many as seven races.

I think if you look at 2020 as a whole, it was definitely a down year for JGR, compared to what 2019 was,” Bell said during an interview.


Article continues below this ad

When compared to how the 2019 season went, Bell feels 2020 was quite the opposite. The three-star drivers in Busch, Hamlin, and Truex Jr. all made the ‘Championship 4’ race in 2019, and Bell’s predecessor Erik Jones also won a race, thus making the playoffs.

The recently concluded season did not live up to expectations for the team, but Bell is confident of a turnaround.

AVONDALE, ARIZONA – MARCH 07: Christopher Bell, driver of the #95 Procore Toyota, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 07, 2020 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Christopher Bell opens up on a tough year for Joe Gibbs Racing

Martin (Truex Jr.) won Martinsville, and Denny (Hamlin) pretty much carried the banner, winning the majority of the races, and the 18 and the 20 had off years. I don’t expect 2021 to be like 2020,” Bell added.

The 26-year-old believes the ‘power-house’ team will find its 2019 form once again. While Kyle Busch had one of his worst seasons, remaining winless all year until just the third but last race of the season, Bell feels he came close to a win and it did not just work out.

LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 01: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, Adam Stevens, crew chief of the #18 M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Chocolate Bar Toyota, during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 1, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

I think that Joe Gibbs Racing is obviously a power house team and they are focused on getting back to where they were in 2019,” said the new driver of the no. 20 car.

As per the youngster, the key is to remain competitive and not focus on the result.

Why Bell believes 2021 will be a lot different for JGR

Ultimately if we just keep putting ourselves in position and we are competitive enough, and we are fast enough, we have a good pit crew, we execute races and don’t make mistakes, that’s all we can ask for.

Whether we win one time or we win eight times, just being competitive is the main goal,” Bell expressed.


Article continues below this ad

BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

The likes of Busch and Truex Jr. are expected to find their best form again. However, for Bell, the challenge is a lot different. He needs to repay the faith of the management that saw him replace Erik Jones in the team.

The experience of running with Joe Gibbs Racing is much bigger than that of Leavine Family Racing, and Bell knows he has a lot of work to do in 2021 to match up to his teammates.


Article continues below this ad


Five NASCAR Cup Drivers Who Underperformed in 2020: Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Who Else?

5 months ago


Aayush Majumdar

1006 articles

Aayush Majumdar is a NASCAR content strategist, a Tennis Writer, and a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. He is well-tenured as a tennis and NASCAR writer, with over 900 articles across both sports. After pursuing a Post Graduate program in Sports Management, Aayush explored various roles in Sports Media, including a Sports Reporting role at a leading English daily.