Toyota Racing – Christopher Bell
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Richmond Raceway – April 12, 2019
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to the media in Richmond:
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Ruud Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Talk about being back at Richmond Raceway this weekend.
“I do enjoy Richmond. For some reason it has been pretty good to me over the last 12 months. Hopefully we can keep it going.”
What are you doing for the off weekend?
“I’m going to spend Easter in Ohio with my fiancés’ family and run some sprint cars up there.”
What can we expect from you at Talladega in a few weeks?
“This Dash 4 Cash deal is three great race tracks for me and one race track that could be great for me or could be really bad for me. Hopefully we can capitalize on being in the Dash 4 Cash again today. It’s going to be hard to win at Talladega. It’s very difficult to win at Talladega just because everyone has a chance there. My goal is to get out of Talladega in the top four there. If I can be in the top four at Talladega then I think I’ll have a good shot in Dover.”
How is Talladega different for you?
“I don’t like crashing. I’m definitely tensed up at Talladega just because you’re at the mercy of everyone around you. The cars are so easy to drive so everyone is making moves and being really aggressive. It definitely keeps me tensed up on the steering wheel.”
What do you feel like makes you so good here?
“I just have really fast race cars. I’ve learned throughout the course of my career that a race car driver is only as good as their race cars. I just have really good race cars. Joe Gibbs Racing has a really good setup for here and I’m the lucky guy that gets to drive it.”
Do you know anything about the tire test that you’re performing at Iowa?
“I know I’m going to Iowa and I guess they’re trying to condense it into one day. I don’t know. Iowa has been pretty good to me so hopefully they don’t change the tire up too much.”
Do you know what you’re doing next year?
“Not a clue.”
Do we know when we might be able to see you in a Cup car any time soon?
“Not a clue.”
Would you like to get in a Cup car at some point this season?
“Ultimately if I want to, yes, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not like I can sit here and say I want to, I want to, I want to. It doesn’t matter.”
Are you just letting other people guide your career or has there been discussion about future plans?
“I feel bad telling you I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know, but literally it’s – in my situation that I’m in, I have no control over it. The only thing that I get to do is drive a race car and hopefully my results speak for themselves and entice people to move me up the ladder. That’s all I’ve got. I just go out there and try and win as many races as I can and see where that entices people to put me.”
Does it make you feel good that Coach Gibbs said he was a big supporter of yours?
“Definitely. It makes me feel good. Coach is obviously a guy that I want to drive for in the Cup side. I don’t understand where I’m going to go right now. Just have to win races”
What do you have to do to not be in the same predicament at Homestead this year as last year?
“Oh yeah, I’ve put a lot of effort into that. The championship boils down to one race and unfortunately that one race was one of our worst races all year long. I’ve been drilling Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) ever since we left there like how can we be better, how can we be better. We’ve got a couple thing marked of how we can improve going back there. Obviously, Tyler (Reddick) is going to be really, really good. He won last year. He’s in a great car. He knows how to run the wall. Tyler is definitely the guy that we’re going to have beat if he makes it, which I’m sure he’s going to make it. We just have to be better.”
What’s first thing on your mind when you come to Richmond?
“Just being smooth. Richmond is all about being smooth, easy on the gas, easy on the brake, easy on the steering wheel. It’s such a delicate race track that the harder you try, typically the slower you go. Just trying to slow everything down and be nice and easy and nice and smooth. Typically the smoothest guy wins here.”
When did you learn to slow everything down?
“I think it relates a lot to a really slick dirt track so that’s good for me. Then just track time. Coming in here and practicing in the morning and racing at night is extremely difficult. This is my fourth race here so the first race I kind of struggled and then obviously races two and three were really good for me. I think a lot of that is credit to my crew chief. He’s got a lot of track time here and he knows how to make the cars go good.”
As you approach Homestead this year, is it going to be different from the start of the weekend and potentially practicing to run the wall?
“We definitely took the conservative approach of do not run the wall, do not run the wall, do not run the wall. I think Cole Custer proved the last couple years that he got his car good enough to where he didn’t have to run the wall. (Kyle) Larson, I think Larson ran the year that Cole won and his car wasn’t very good so he couldn’t run the wall and so everyone was like oh, you can run the middle, you can run the middle, you can run the middle. Well (Tyler) Reddick proved it again last year that the wall is the fastest place to be at Homestead. I think I’m just going to go up there and urn the wall.”