Tuesday, Dec 06

Toyota NCS Kansas Quotes -- Christopher Bell

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

What are you looking forward to with tomorrow’s race?

“Just an important race for us. We performed well at Darlington and got ourselves in a nice points position. Hopefully we can execute this weekend and capitalize on some more points and be able to breathe easy going into Bristol.”

Are you the sleeper of the Playoffs?

“I don’t really think that’s for me to decide. In my head, I know where I think I rank up. Just trying to showcase what we’re capable of on the race track.”

Were you aware that Daniel Suarez was upset with you after the Darlington race?

“Just a non-intentional mistake from me to slide up and crowd him into the wall. Honestly, I didn’t think anything of it at the time and had no idea that he was upset until he spoke out. Once I learned he was upset, I did reach out and texted him. I apologized for getting into him and he let me know that he was going to race me the same way I raced him going forward. I’ll just have to make sure to watch my back whenever he’s around me.”

How do you feel this new car will react at Bristol on pavement next weekend?

“I expect Bristol to be a really big momentum race track with these cars. I did get to do the tire test about a year ago. What I learned is this a very big momentum car and not much acceleration or deceleration either. I expect the top to be fast under those conditions and I think that lapped traffic is going to play a really big role in the race like it always does. I would expect the top to be very dominant at the Bristol race.”

How do you think the car will react or how has it progressed on intermediate tracks?

“That’s tough for me to say. It seems like these cars have excelled at the mile-and-a-halves. We’ve seen great races at the beginning of the season when we went to these style race tracks. I would expect that to continue. I think that everybody, like you mentioned, has evolved and got their stuff driving a lot better so maybe a little less yellow flags and a little less self-spins, but I would expect the great racing to continue.”

How much of a relief is it to be the driver in the Playoffs at Joe Gibbs Racing with the least drama around you so you can focus on the Playoffs?

“It’s exactly how I like it for sure. It’s nice to be able to focus on the task at hand and not have a bunch of distractions floating around. Hopefully we can keep it that way.”

Can you talk about qualifying at Kansas?

“I love qualifying, and I love these conditions, especially mile-and-a-halves. Cooler temperatures means we’re going to be carrying higher speeds so it’s right in my wheelhouse for sure. I’m excited about it and I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the rain doesn’t come.”

How much of a difference would it make if the sun pops out?

“So the biggest thing is just a lack of grip. When you have lack of grip, the speeds slow down and you have to be more patient on the throttle and you can’t attack like you can when it’s cloudy and the grip levels are up. Either way, it’s the same for all of us and we all have to adapt. I love the faster we go, the better it seems I go. I’m excited about this qualifying session.”

Does this track have any additional significance since your first Xfinity win came here?

“It probably just helps me enjoy this place a little bit more. I’ve always enjoyed coming to Kansas and especially after that Xfinity win, it made it one of my favorites. On top of that, it’s one of my home tracks too. Between here and Texas, those are my home tracks and have a lot of great memories here at Kansas with that Xfinity win and would love to add a Cup win.”

What do you have to work on to be as fast as your Toyota teammates from the spring race?

“That’s a great question. My answer to that is performance-related from me and the equipment from the car side, it was there and I was able to win the pole in qualifying and throughout practice I think we were extremely strong too. When they dropped the green flag I was able to lead laps at the start of the race. Then we had a flat tire that brought us back and we just weren’t able to recover from that. I think that the performance was there all weekend and we just weren’t able to overcome our issues in the race to get back to the front with our teammates, but I believe if we can bring that same performance, we can make gains on pit road and hopefully no unfortunate circumstances and we can be competing.”

Is there an added sense of calm entering your second Playoffs this year?

“So I don’t really think my being a second year versus a first year really has an effect on my outlook, but just my performance over the regular season this year definitely makes me feel more comfortable in my position than I was a year ago at this time. Last year, I didn’t feel like we performed like a team capable of racing for a championship and this year I feel like we’re able to do that. It makes me more confident in what we’ve got going on.”

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