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Silly Season scorecard: Christopher Bell moving to Cup in 2020

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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.

No. 21: Matt DiBenedetto replaces Paul Menard at Wood Brothers Racing (announcement made Sept. 10). DiBenedetto’s deal is for 2020 only.

No. 95: Christopher Bell moves up to Cup in 2020 and will drive for Leavine Family Racing (announcement made Sept. 24).

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.

Rheem to sponsor Christopher Bell, Ryan Preece in Xfinity Series

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Rheem will sponsor Joe Gibbs Racing across two cars in the Xfinity Series next season, sponsoring Christopher Bell and Ryan Preece.

The company will be on Bell’s No. 20 Toyota for 23 races and Preece’s No. 18 Toyota for 10 races.

Rheem, which manufactures heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products, sponsored Richard Childress Racing cars for the last three seasons in Xfinity.

Rheem has sponsored Xfinity teams every year since 2008.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Rheem,” team owner Joe Gibbs said in a press release. “They have built a winning company in their industry with many of the same attributes we hold valuable at our race team. Rheem has a long history in our sport and they understand what it takes to be successful. We think Christopher (Bell) and Ryan (Preece) will represent them well both on and off the track.”

Bell enters his first full-time season with JGR after winning the Camping World Truck Series championship with Kyle Busch Motorsports. The 21-year old driver made eight Xfinity starts this season and earned his first win Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

Preece’s 10 races for 2018 come after he made four starts for JGR this season and finished in the top five in each, winning at Iowa Speedway on July 29.

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