Toyota NCWTS Daytona Media Day Christopher Bell Quotes
by Official Release On Wed, Feb. 22, 2017
Toyota Daytona Driver Quotes
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS)
Daytona Media Day – February 22, 2017
Toyota driver Christopher Bell was made available to the media at NASCAR Daytona Media Day:
Christopher Bell, No. 4 JBL Toyota Tundra, Kyle Busch Motorsports
Are you ready to get back in the truck and a preview for Daytona?
“I’m really excited that the 2017 race season is upon us because it’s just been a long off‑season, and I feel like last year we were starting to get hot towards the end of the year. I’m excited to get things going back again at Daytona and then Atlanta back‑to‑back is going to be a lot of fun. Should be a lot of fun, and I’m excited to get to work with my new crew chief Rudy Fugle, and yeah, I can’t wait to get going.”
You’ve got a different look at Kyle Busch Motorsports. Could you talk about your new teammates?
“So for the first time in my career I’m going to be a veteran of the team. So that’s kind of weird to think about. But I’m really glad that I’ve got teammates like Noah Gragson and Harrison Burton, Todd Gilliland and Myatt Snider. They’ve all been really good, really good teammates and good friends so far, so I’m excited to get racing with them and see how they all perform.”
What do you see as your biggest adjustment getting into the asphalt models, coming from a dirt, open-wheel background?
“So for me, making the transition from dirt to asphalt, the hardest part has been learning how to run the longer races. That’s been really difficult for me because what I grew up doing, sprint car racing, is run as hard as you can, as fast as you can for 30 laps, at the most 50 laps. So coming into NASCAR races where they’re not run as hard as you can and as fast as you can for a short distance, it’s been a very difficult process getting used to the longer style of races. But I’ve got the best mentor in the business driving for Kyle Busch, and he’s not a bad NASCAR racer, either. He’s probably one of the best we’ve seen in a long time. Just being able to rely on him, and then also guys that have came up through the sport, like you said, Tony Stewart. I don’t personally know Jeff Gordon, but Kyle Larson and Kasey Kahne ‑‑ I don’t really talk to Kasey too much, but I would say Kyle Larson has been really big for me because he made the same transition I did a couple years earlier, and I’ve been able to talk to him and we’ve pretty good buddies. That’s been a really good relationship I’ve had with him just trying to learn how to become a pavement racer and the best pavement racer I can be.”
Do you ever see young fans and think that was you 10 years ago?
“Well, it’s just really cool to see how the roles have changed as I’ve grown up. Like you mentioned, being a kid, looking at the superstars of the sport, which are still in the sport today, growing up and seeing Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and all these guys, I remember going to the Chili Bowl and always loved getting to see Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart race and going up for autographs and buying their tee shirts and stuff, and now kind of competing at the same level they are, and some of the guys that I looked up to are now my friends. It’s really cool to be able to see the roles change, and now I can look back at younger people, and I guess give back the way that those guys gave back to me, and just try and make sure that they enjoy it and that they become fans because fans are really important.”
Did you have a favorite driver when you were 10 or 12 years old?
“For me, Tony Stewart was my favorite driver because I loved the way his attitude is, his tell‑it‑how‑it‑is attitude, and just ‑‑ I love that about him. He’ll tell you if he’s happy, he’ll tell you if he’s mad, and he’s going to run hard all the time.”
Have you kept the Golden Driller pretty close to you ever since you guys got back from Tulsa?
“So there for a while, I kept the Golden Driller really close to me, but it’s kind of found its home at my house, and now it’s in a place where I can see it, but it hasn’t been sleeping with me like it was before.”
How has Toyota impacted your racing career?
“Well, Toyota is a very unique ‑‑ they have a unique driver development program right now, as they have teams in the super late model community and the dirt community with the midget cars. So they’re very active in trying to find younger talent and develop the younger talent into becoming the superstars we see today. And I’ve been really fortunate to be one of the guys that they’ve supported since day one. It’s really cool to be able to look back at where I came from in the midget car ranks, and to see who’s coming up now and who’s running the Toyota super late models, it’s just cool to be able to be a part of the Toyota racing development driver development program and to see the younger guys coming in for sure.”
Were you worried about coming back here with the weather, or have you put that all behind you in terms of what happened?
“Well, you try and put it behind you, but it’s always in the back of your mind. Daytona definitely left a sour taste in my mouth whenever I left here, but I’m excited to come back and give it another shot. It wasn’t one of my favorite tracks when I left, but I’m excited to try and make it one of my favorite tracks now.”
How high of goals have you guys set for the season?
“So me personally, my goals are to be able to win races and compete for a championship. So if we can make it to Homestead and win a decent amount of races this year, then it’ll be a success. If we make it to Homestead and don’t win races, then it’ll be a disappointment. If we win races and don’t make it to Homestead, it’ll be a disappointment, as well. This year with the way that the point bonuses work, I feel like it’ll go hand in hand. If you can win races, you should be able to make it to Homestead, but ultimately that’s our goal is to be able to go to Homestead with a chance to win the championship and to win races this year.”
Are you looking forward to getting back to some of these tracks for the second time around, some of them that you probably only saw for the first time last year?ok
“Yeah, I am. I’m really excited to go to places like Atlanta and the mile‑and‑a‑halfs that are really worn out and you can race on really well. I was able to run seven races in 2015 and then get the full schedule last year, and now with my second year running full time, I feel like I’m not ‑‑ I’m not learning the racetracks as much. Obviously you learn every time when you go to the ‑‑ whenever you go race, you learn every time, but it’s cool to be able to at least know what to expect whenever I get to these racetracks.”