The driver of the No. 20 has not been the topic of conversation throughout the 2022 season for no fault of his own. There have been discussions about Kyle Busch’s future, Martin Truex Jr.’s surprising winless streak, and Denny Hamlin’s slow start to the season.
Bell, however, has simply set career-highs with 17 top-10 finishes, 10 top-fives, and 417 laps led. He won his second career race during the trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Bell also won the first three Busch Light Pole Awards of his Cup Series career while making his way back to the playoffs.
Bell Leads JGR’s Lineup in Multiple Categories
Hamlin has the most wins among JGR drivers in 2022 with trips to Victory Lane at Richmond Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. However, Bell tops his teammates in top-10s and top-fives.
Obviously, the stats don’t tell the full story. There have been unexpected issues that derailed Truex, Busch, and Hamlin when they were within reach of potential wins. This includes engine failures, power steering issues, broken drivetrains, a penalty for a misplaced piece of tape, and multiple other examples.
Bell dealt with some pit road issues of his own early in the 2022 season, which played a role in some changes on the crews for both him and Bubba Wallace. These crew member swaps paid dividends for both teams as Bell and Wallace each secured a race win and numerous top-10s.
Bell’s Past 10 Races Have Showcased Consistency
Bell and the No. 20 turned in some inconsistent performances early in the 2022 season. There were top-five finishes separated by some outside of the top 20. Though the past 10 races have showcased consistency.
This stretch began with Bell winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He then finished fourth at Pocono Raceway and 12th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. A crash disrupted a trip to Michigan International Speedway, but Bell rebounded with a runner-up at Richmond Raceway and a top-10 at Watkins Glen International.
Bell’s regular season ended with a crash at Daytona International Speedway. He has since turned in top-five finishes in the first three playoff races, which included a third-place run at Kansas Speedway that punched his ticket to the Round of 12.
Bell will now aim to continue to run of success and continue adding to his career-best stats. The next opportunity will be Texas Motor Speedway, a race that he has circled as the most important in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
“Looking at the next seven races, I would say Texas is arguably the most important race, outside of Phoenix,” Christopher Bell said after Bristol’s cutoff race, per Toyota. “Talladega, we all know how that is — there is going to be some lucky guys, and some unlucky guys. Texas is kind of the one place where you can control your destiny into the next round and the winner is going to feel really good if it is a Playoff car.”