Not that there was any doubt, but Leavine Family Racing made it official that Christopher Bell will join the team in 2020 to drive the No. 95 car in Cup.
What stood out about Tuesday’s announcement were the details:
# Jason Ratcliff, Bell’s crew chief in the Xfinity Series at Joe Gibbs Racing, will join Bell at Leavine Family Racing.
# Mike Wheeler, the No. 95 team’s current crew chief, will remain and become the competition director.
# The technical alliance between Leavine Family Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Racing Development will be enhanced.
# As part of his statement, Bell said sponsor Rheem would follow him to the No. 95 car and join current sponsor Procore.
ANNOUNCED OPEN RIDES FOR 2020
No. 8: With Richard Childress Racing stating that Daniel Hemric won’t return to the team (announcement made Sept. 17) next season, all that is left to be done is for the official word that Tyler Reddick will move up to take that ride. Childress spoke July 30 about wanting to keep Reddick.
No. 38: Front Row Motorsports must replace David Ragan, who stated Aug. 14 that 2019 would be his final season running a full schedule.
ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2020
No. 13: Ty Dillon posted a video Sept. 6 on Instagram refuting rumors that he would retire after this season. He has a contract with Germain Racing through 2020.
No. 20: Joe Gibbs Racing announced Sept. 6 that it had signed Erik Jones to an extension. It is a one-year extension for the 2020 season.
AMONG THOSE YET TO ANNOUNCE DEALS FOR 2020
No. 1: Kurt Busch‘s contract expires after this season but all indications are that he’ll return to the Chip Ganassi Racing team with Monster Energy in 2020.
No. 14: Clint Bowyer‘s contract expires after this season but Bowyer stated Sept. 20 that he did a commercial shoot with Kevin Harvick for Mobil 1 last week for next season.
No. 41: Daniel Suarez has said that both he and the team have an option on his contract for next year. He has remained confident that he will return to Stewart-Haas Racing.