Erik Jones vs. Christopher Bell

Every driver of the NASCAR Cup series has prevailed at the base. At various points in time, paved late models were the preferred way to demonstrate his talent, but more and more dirt track drivers have attracted the lion's share of attention.

Kyle Larson's celebrated affection for his roots is making more and more fans show up on the dirt roads, but in the coming years we'll have the opportunity to see one of the best-paved alums compete with a dirt rival like Erik Jones and Christopher Bell's head Head.

It will take a while for the rivalry to worsen, but this year the battle for the future of one of the leading NASCAR organizations begins.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1,0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0,8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "The increase in their rivalry is that both of tapped Joe Gibbs Racing is said to be part of a juggernaut that only has room for one of them in the cup. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin It won't go anywhere as fast and NASCAR has a limit of four cars for the senior series.

This limitation has prompted some teams to get creative and support their competition through satellite efforts. Team Penske has the Wood Brothers as feeders and Hendrick Motorsports has Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2019, Gibbs will increase support for the Leavine Family Racing team to bring Bell into the Cup series and fight with Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer for the Rookie of the Year award. "Data-reactid =" 21 "> Improving their rivalry is that both were typed by Joe Gibbs Racing to be part of a juggernaut that only has room for one at cup level. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin will not be driving in the near future and NASCAR has a limit of four cars for the senior series.

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This limitation has prompted some teams to get creative and support their competition through satellite efforts. Team Penske has the Wood Brothers as feeders and Hendrick Motorsports has Chip Ganassi Racing. In 2019, Gibbs will increase support for the Leavine Family Racing team to get Bell into the Cup series and compete for the Rookie of the Year with Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer.

But the real attention will be how Bell acts on Jones.

Given that Jones will be better equipped overall, the question will be whether Bell can continue the improvement to No. 95 that started with Michael McDowell, continued with Kasey Kahne, and peaked last year with Matt DiBenedetto at the wheel Has.

Bell competes in four races of the race every week: he competes against himself to improve every week, but he also has to demonstrate that he can undercut DiBenedetto's performance from 2019. Can he be the best in the freshmen class? Can he promise more than Jones and the future of Joe Gibbs Racing?

Christopher Bell

winning

Top-fives

Top 10s

scores

2017

1

3

5

NM (8 starts)

2018

7

18

20

4

2019

8th

20

21

3

total

16

41

46

3.50 (average)

Meanwhile, the pressure is on Jones. He had three full seasons to prove himself and was doing moderately well. When he is in his "A" game, he challenges the top fives, but has difficulty finding consistency and is at risk of falling if he digs too deep.

Winning his first cup race in his second season locked him in the 2018 playoffs. However, he immediately got into trouble in the last ten races with an accident in Las Vegas. In addition, this victory came at the Wild Card Daytona International Speedway. Many drivers with plate wins never visit Victory Lane again.

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Jones’s win this year in the Southern 500 was much more significant as he was driven on one of the circuit’s toughest tracks – and in one of NASCAR’s crown jewels. He made the playoffs again, but like 2018, Jones struggled immediately and failed to get out of the round of 16. Even though he was part of the last two championship hunts, his average score was less than impressive.

Erik Jones (Cup)

winning

Top-fives

Top 10s

scores

2015

NM (3 starts)

2017

5

14

19

2018

1

9

18

15

2019

1

10

17

16

total

2

24

49

16.7 (avg.)

Three best routes

Darlington

4.7 starts in 3

Kentucky

5.3 in 3 begins

Watkins Glen

6.3 in 3 begins

However, the Southern 500 turned out to be one, and that's Jones's ability to drive under pressure. At the time of his victory, the Joe Gibbs Racing organization's final line-up had not yet been finalized, and Jones was only too aware of how quickly fate could change.

As far as we know, Jones' contract extension took only one year.

Jones watched Gibbs drop Joey Logano at the end of 2012 and noticed how dispensable Daniel Suarez was when Truex needed a new home. Jones will keep an eye on the rearview mirror for the first part of 2020.

Jones is a central part of his career. In his fourth full-time season, this is a turning point that not only determines his fate with Gibbs, but also about what type of equipment he will spend most of his senior career with. Like Bell, he will start with several agendas in 2020.

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Jones not only has to prove that he wants to win, but that he can develop more car control and avoid mistakes at critical moments. The 2020 season will not be a success unless he qualifies for the playoffs and at least progresses past the round of 16. Without the top 10 point effort, Jones could struggle to find a ride that matches his talent – and that's something we've seen all too often in a sport with only 40 top athletes.

<p class = "canvas-atom canvas-text Mb (1,0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0,8em) – sm" type = "text" content = "Previous head-to-head matches:
Chase Elliott vs. Ryan Blaney
Kyle vs. Kurt Busch
Joe Gibbs against Team Penske "data-reactid =" 41 ">Previous head-to-head matches:
Chase Elliott vs. Ryan Blaney
Kyle vs. Kurt Busch
Joe Gibbs against Team Penske

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