Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Dover International Speedway
Race 10 of 33 – 200 miles, 200 laps
May 4, 2019
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, CHRISTOPHER BELL
2nd, Justin Allgaier*
3rd, Tyler Reddick*
4th, Cole Custer*
5th, Chase Briscoe*
7th, BRANDON JONES
15th, RILEY HERBST
16th, TIMMY HILL
21th, TOMMY JOE MARTINS
29th, JOEY GASE
30th, CHAD FINCHUM
32nd, VINNIE MILLER
37th, JOHN JACKSON
- Supra driver Christopher Bell earned his third win of the season, and 11th of his Xfinity career.
- Bell won his second Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus this season.
- Bell now has won two consecutive events at Dover International Speedway.
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
Will this $100,000 Dash 4 Cash check help you build a Sprint Car team one day?
“That sprint car team is a long way down the road, but it’s definitely a dream of mine to have one. I just can’t say enough about everyone on this team 20 at Joe Gibbs Racing. They never quit. They keep working and over the last couple weeks we’ve had really fast race cars, but we just haven’t been able to capitalize on it. This one is really out to my pit crew. They did a great job of getting me out first there where I could control the restarts. I knew if we could get out front, we were going to be tough to beat. This one’s for everyone at Rheem, Ruud, everyone at Xfinity and all the people at Xfinity for putting up this serious money right here. This is one of the coolest trophies that we get to have – a cardboard check for $100.000.”
How difficult was it to pass on the track today as you had to take the lead with the final pit stop?
“This place, you can pass on long green flag runs and it’s one of my favorite race tracks because you can move around and kind of find different lines and get going. Over the short run, it’s pretty difficult to make it happen because there’s so much grip on the bottom. Just really thankful for everyone at Toyota and TRD too. They’re the ones that have believed in me since day one on the dirt side of things and now here we are holding up my second cardboard check. Thank you guys!”
How much better was your race car in clean air?
“It was a little bit better, but I knew we had a really good Rheem Supra from really the drop of the green flag. I was able to keep pace with them, it was just tough to pass. There’s no doubt that he (Cole Custer) was really good. Over that long run there, I felt like I could make gains on him running the top. Last time we were here, the top was really good for me, but it seemed like it rubbered up more and the top was a little less of a disadvantage. Once we got the lead – thank you to my pit crew, they did an outstanding job – it’s really special to be here.”
How do you keep your cool during the restarts in the closing laps?
“It’s tough, it’s just a matter of executing and doing your job. I’ve been struggling on restarts over the course of my NASCAR career so I’ve been focusing hard on that to get better. I feel like I did a pretty good job today.”
What are you focused on now that you’ve won so many races in the last season and a half?
“Just continuing to win. This sport is a very funny sport and you’re only as good as your last race. At this moment I just need to continue to win races and just get better and better, week in and week out. Days like today are a really good day, I didn’t feel like we had a dominant race car and we were still able to win. Those days are really hard to come by and I’m really thankful that I get to drive for such a legendary crew chief like Jason (Ratcliff).”
Do you think you could have passed Cole Custer had the race gone green to the finish?
“It was going to be close. We were pretty close together and he was starting to struggle pretty bad on the long run. It was going to be a good race for sure. Getting off pit road was going to be extremely important because it takes so long for the cars to start driving bad here, you fire off and the race track is clean, the tires have a lot of grip so there’s a lot of on-throttle time and it’s really hard to pass until you get deep into a run whenever you start seeing car difficulties. It was going to be basically, I feel like the race was going to be won by who got off pit road first and had the lead. Then it was going to be a battle for sure.”
Why do you feel you’re not as strong at restarts?
“I think a lot of it is just the air games and knowing how the air manipulates your car and stuff like that. There’s no doubt that there’s no harder restarts in the world than racing with the World of Outlaws. Those guys train you really good and it is double-file restarts over there too. A lot of it here too is just who gets the right push, who makes the right air block or placing air on different parts of the other guys cars. The air stuff is what I’ve struggled with and I think I’m getting a little bit better at it.”
Where will you put this check and how will you spend the money?
“I’ve already got the one check hanging up in my house so it’s in a pretty primo spot too. You can see it pretty easily so I need to find another spot for this check. As far as getting any of the money, I haven’t paid any attention to it yet. I’m not sure on that. Regardless of who gets the money, Joe Gibbs Racing is going to benefit from it and it’s really cool to see how Xfinity has put in a bunch of money for their teams to race for and you don’t get to race for that much money very often. If it wasn’t for a mistake on a restart at Richmond, I think we had a good shot at winning all the races.”
What made you give the checkered flag away again to a child in the grandstands?
“We get a bunch of trophies, now I have a check, a golden Miles (the Monster trophy) — a checkered flag is just a third piece of a trophy so I decided to give it to a kid. I’ve done it the last couple times and I actually saw that kid at the autograph session and he was talking to me so that’s why I picked him.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
How important was it to get out ahead of Cole Custer on the final pit stop?
“The Gibbs pit crews are pretty phenomenal and it’s a different group this week actually, but they’re all great. We were making adjustments on the first two stops and they were breaking even so I knew on the last one that if we could just get a clean four-tire stop that they would give us a shot at it and they did. Really, that’s what won us the race. Making gains on the car, I think we were breaking even with the 00 (Cole Custer) on the long run and at times maybe a little better. Those guys had a great race car, but I knew if we could get track position that we would be able to get it done or Christopher (Bell) would anyway. It’s a good day.”
Can you talk about the development of Christopher Bell over the years?
“He came into the sport knowing how to win, there’s no doubt about that. His desire to win is so big that it gets him in trouble sometimes when he’s got a third-place car, but today at times we weren’t better than a second-place car and he was really patient and gave us good communication – good feedback. In the end, he capitalized on it. I think early on, I don’t think he would have been able to do that, but with the experience he has now under his belt, I think he’s at a point in his career where he’s learning how to take what he can from a race car. If he’s got a fifth-place car, figuring out how to finish third with it and take a second-place car and figure out how to win with it. We keep learning every week, but winning is not a problem. We just have to finish where we race every week.”
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
How much did you work on the race car from yesterday to today to claim a top-10 finish?
“We fought really hard yesterday. We did not have a car at the end of practice to run where we did today. We put our heads together and we had a plan, then pretty much changed the entire thing. We threw everything but the kitchen sink at our Supra. In the race there, I think it was all about track position really, it was so tough to pass. Even at one point, I think it was the 22 (Austin Cindric) got sideways in front of me and I still got passed by him just from being so loose. We have a couple weeks off and this was a great day to rebound to get back to where we need to be. I’m looking forward to getting back with these guys, but next week I’m in a Tundra for KBM and I’m looking forward to it.”