Bell promoted to Cup Series in Leavine Family Racing seat

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Christopher Bell has been promoted to NASCAR's top series and will drive for Leavine Family Racing in 2020.

Leavine is an affiliate of Joe Gibbs Racing, which along with Toyota has Bell under contract. The logjam of drivers at the Cup level for Gibbs forced Bell to be farmed out to Leavine's single-car operation.

Leavine last month released Matt DiBenedetto from the seat, clearing the way for Bell to be promoted from the Xfinity Series. The 24-year-old is considered a rising star in NASCAR and has 15 victories through 68 starts in the Xfinity Series.

Bell has won seven times this season and leads the Xfinity standings after last week's playoffs opener.

Bell is in his second full season in the Xfinity Series. He previously won seven races in the Truck Series and the 2017 championship.

Jason Ratcliff, his crew chief, will be promoted with Bell. Current Leavine crew chief Mike Wheeler was named competition director of the Leavine organization.