Christopher Bell’s win on Sunday probably came as a big surprise to a lot of people and to be honest it surprised me as well. The Joe Gibbs development drivers have been hit or miss the last few attempts so it’s easy to be hesitant with him. Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez had the same hype surrounding them coming into Cup. Bell has already proven that those same hardships will not be passed down to him.
Looking back on his 2020 season, it actually shouldn’t be that shocking. His rookie season was under the radar compared to Cole Custer who got his first win and Tyler Reddick who was exceeding expectations with RCR. Bell did not have a horrible year, he found himself running well on multiple occasions and challenging for a win a couple of times.
Piecing it all together for this 2021 season, I don’t think we’ve seen the last time he heads to victory lane this year. Getting off to a great start is obviously part of the reason I think we could see a multi-win year. I also think that he’s shown the speed in that car early on, and getting a win at a road course, where he had horrible luck at last season shows growth in him as a driver in his second year.
If he has that much speed and is able to go toe to toe with Chase Elliott at a road course, then he’s set up for great success with the tracks he’s already good at.
- Charlotte – 9th
- Bristol – 9th
- Homestead – 8th
- Pocono – 4th
- Kentucky – 7th
- Texas – 3rd
Tracks like Homestead and Bristol are made for guys with the dirt background that Bell has. Coming off this major momentum gather and head into a track he’s run well at in his rookie year, Bell will be a guy to keep your eye on this weekend, no doubt. He might even be the favorite on some analysts’ boards, I know I’m not going to rule him out.
Going to the Bristol Dirt Race, there was already hype surrounding that potentially being his first win, now imagine what he’s going to do with this confidence boost? He’s not the only driver with dirt experience, but he’s one of the few that has such a high aptitude for it, and adapting the dirt to these cars will be a challenge for everyone, but guys like Bell will pick it up much more gracefully.
The point is, this very well might not be just a fluke win for the year. I think this could be Christopher Bell’s breakout year in only his second.
My prediction: I think Bell is going to win two more races before the season is out. I have a strong feeling about him this weekend at Homestead and at the Bristol Dirt Race, but he’s capable of winning at any type of track. The 20-car looks fast early on, and outside of his mistake in the 500 that caused a massive wreck only fifteen laps in, he has looked mature behind the wheel.