Playoff drivers in trouble: No. 5 – Christopher Bell
That eighth place driver in the point standings is Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell. Bell has had an under-the-radar strong season for Joe Gibbs Racing in his second year behind the wheel of the #20 Toyota, but it may very well not be enough for him to qualify for the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Despite sitting in eighth place in the point standings with four top five finishes and 10 top 10 results, Bell is currently the 16th and final driver above the playoff cut line, as eight drivers below him have earned victories this year.
Bell has looked safe in the playoff picture throughout much of the regular season, but if there is another winner from below him — or if he drops in points — he would drop below that cut line.
Bell qualified for last year’s playoffs by earning his first career victory in the race at the Daytona International Speedway road course, and he may very well need a second career victory to qualify for this year’s postseason as well.
His best finish so far this season is a third place finish at Circuit of the Americas, though he lost a second place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway due to a post-race penalty. After a rocky start which saw him record just one top 22 finish in the first five races, he has finished outside of the top nine just four times in 13 events.