Christopher Bell had an impressive 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. Driving the #20 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, he scored a career-best three wins, 12 top-five finishes, and five poles. He also made his first appearance in the Championship 4, finishing the season in third place in the standings.
When it comes to clutch driving in the Cup Series, no one can beat Bell in the 2022 season, not even Ross Chastain at Martinsville Speedway. He faced must-win situations twice in the playoffs but survived at both Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway to clinch his Championship 4 spot.
Only a few drivers have won an elimination race in situations like Bell’s. He has won two out of four races. It's the kind of confidence booster that can propel him to far more wins than his four career victories in 108 games so far.
Joe Gibbs Racing needs that much more from Christopher Bell if it wants to stay in the top leagues of the NASCAR Cup Series. Although Ty Gibbs raced half of a Cup Series season and won the Xfinity Series title with seven wins, he could take a couple of more seasons to break into the top-10 finishes or he might not get there at all.
Before the start of the seasonal finale race at Phoenix Raceway, Bell’s team owner Joe Gibbs talked about his performance and joked:
“I wish we would have done a 20-year deal right now, the way this has worked out.”
Bell scored three of Joe Gibbs Racing’s six wins in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. Shortly before his first victory, which came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as the regular season was ending, the owners signed him to a contract extension that the team had not offered.
Christopher Bell could be a leader of Joe Gibbs Racing in the future
With Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin expected to retire in the next couple of years, it’s likely the organization might look beyond their veteran drivers as one of their replacements. The other thing is that it could be a call-up from JGR’s Xfinity Series team which is currently going through a rebuilding process.
This is one of the reasons why Christopher Bell could be a leader of its team in the next few years.
Christopher Bell and other Joe Gibbs Racing drivers will be seen in action next year in the Cup Series in the preseason race Busch Light Clash at The Coliseum.