Joe Gibbs Racing Extends Contract With Longtime Primary Partner

Christopher Bell

Getty Christopher Bell will have extra practice time.

Joe Gibbs Racing has made a big move for the 2023 season. The organization has extended its contract with Rheem, one of Christopher Bell’s longtime partners.

JGR announced the news on September 29. The championship-winning Cup Series organization confirmed Rheem’s return, as well as the company’s role as Bell’s primary partner on the No. 20 Toyota Camry TRD. This news comes near the end of a season where Rheem has taken over the No. 20 for nine of the first 30 races.

“We are thrilled to have Rheem continue their partnership with Christopher and our No. 20 team,” said Joe Gibbs, owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, in a press release. “They have been a long-time supporter of not only our race team but really to our entire sport of NASCAR. They are a tremendous model of how to build a successful program and we are thrilled to continue to help them reach their goals.”


Bell Has Extensive Success With Rheem Colors

Toyota Racing

GettyChristopher Bell (front) has showcased speed during the 2022 season.

There are multiple drivers that have showcased the Rheem colors, but Bell has been the longest-tenured in JGR’s history. He has worked with the company since the 2018 Xfinity Series season, and he has celebrated numerous wins.

This list of achievements includes five of his seven wins from the 2018 Xfinity Series season, a run that features back-to-back trips to Victory Lane at Kentucky and New Hampshire. Bell also celebrated six wins with Rheem during the 2019 season.

Along with the success in the Xfinity Series, Bell also has multiple wins in the Cup Series with Rheem as his primary partner. His first career win took place at the Daytona Road Course when he led five laps during the second race of the 2021 season. Bell reached Victory Lane after holding off Joey Logano, and he punched his ticket to the playoffs.

Bell added his second career Cup Series win during the 2022 season. He started fifth overall at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 17. He then went on to lead the final 42 laps before holding off Chase Elliott to snag the checkered flag.

This win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway turned Bell’s season around. He has shown speed early in the year, but there were some issues that prevented him from returning to Victory Lane. This included an engine failure at Auto Club Speedway and a penalty at Atlanta Motor Speedway after he was forced below the double white line.

“Rheem has been a huge supporter of mine both on and off the track, I’m proud of the relationship we’ve built and the customers and guests I’ve been able to meet over the years,” Bell said. “I’m looking forward to finishing 2022 strong and kicking off 2023 with Rheem on the car.”


Bell Will Continue His Pursuit of Crucial Points

The news of the contract extension takes place as Bell prepares for a pivotal playoff race. Along with Denny Hamlin, he is one of two JGR drivers remaining in the hunt for the championship, but he faces steep odds.

Bell is currently 25 points below the cutline after two blown tires at Texas Motor Speedway, the latter of which sent him hard into the wall and caused excessive damage to the No. 20. Now he heads to Talladega Superspeedway in need of maximum points or a win.

Bell is lower in the initial odds for the playoff race at Talladega Superspeedway, per DraftKings. He enters the weekend at 18-1, which puts him in a tie with teammate Kyle Busch. Tyler Reddick, Ross Chastain, and Austin Cindric are the next drivers on the list at 15-1 odds.

There are actually six other drivers that are in the tie for the best odds at 12-1. This list includes Chase Elliott, William Byron, Hamlin, Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, and Ryan Blaney.

 

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