Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Christopher Bell will compete full time in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season.
Bell, 22, currently leads the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota. The Oklahoma native has made four XFINITY starts this season, netting a pole position at Iowa Speedway and a best finish of fourth in his series debut at Charlotte.
“I don’t think I could ask for a better place to take the next step in my racing career,” Bell said in a release provided by the team. “I’m already comfortable with everyone at JGR and I think the experience I have with them this year should help me at the start of 2018.”
Bell brings an extensive dirt-track-racing pedigree to his NASCAR career, including a victory in the prestigious Chili Bowl Nationals in his home state earlier this year. He posted the first of his seven career Truck Series wins on the Eldora Speedway dirt in 2015.
Bell has participated in Toyota’s driver development program dating back to 2013, during his days of U.S. Auto Club (USAC) sprint-car competition. His first NASCAR win on pavement came in his 16th career Truck Series start, at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Bell finished third in the Truck Series standings last season. This year, Bell finished as the series’ Regular-Season Champion, and his sizable collection of playoff points make him a favorite to again reach the championship round at Homestead.
“Christopher has proven himself at every level of racing and we are excited to have him run full time in our XFINITY Series program starting in 2018,” said team owner Coach Joe Gibbs. “He has shown great maturity both on and off the track and we think he is ready for this opportunity. We look forward to watching his continued progress in the sport.”
The organization indicated that it would announce more details — including car number, crew chief and sponsorship — at a later date.
This story will be updated.