Toyota Racing – Christopher Bell
NASCAR Xfinity Series Quotes
CONCORD, N.C. (September 26, 2019) – Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to media at Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course:
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No.20 Rheem-Gemaire Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Having the change to the chicane on the backstretch, do you think there’s going to be a big difference this year?
“I don’t think it’s really going to affect the racing that much, but it definitely opens itself up to a lot of mistakes. It’s very, very hard to get slowed down for that tight of a chicane.”
Can you make a pass in the chicane?
“It’s going to be very risky. If I try to push too hard there, I just wheel hop and missed the corners, so I think we might see some crashing there.”
What is the optimum place to pass?
“For me, my bread and butter seems to be the infield section. Just setting guys up – I don’t know, just all throughout that infield section. It’s pretty, I guess technical is the right word, where you can kind of run a different line and set people up.”
Is it a relief to have your news released this week?
“It’s definitely a really big relief getting it out there because everyone already knew and everybody is coming to ask me what’s going on, what’s going on, and I just have to sit here and say I don’t know, I don’t know. But it’s nice to get it out there.”
How big of a deal is it to be able to take Jason Ratcliffe with you next year?
“It’s really big because Jason (Ratcliffe, crew chief) understands me as a driver and our communication is already off to a good start. If we go there and we have bad days, he’s not going to be blaming me because he’s worked with me and understands what my strengths and weaknesses are.”
With Jason Ratcliffe having Cup experience, that’s got to help too.
“Yeah, it’s really nice because now I still have a veteran crew chief going up to the Cup Series, so he’s been there, done that.”
What is this situation like with Silly Season starting sooner every year? Is it nerve-wracking?
“For me, my deal was done pretty early, so I didn’t have much of a Silly Season to go through. I’m enjoying what I’m doing right now and I want to make sure that I finish this thing off and try to get a championship.”
What’s it like going back to Dover and what’s it feel like for someone who’s never run a lap there?
“It’s a lot of fun. Dover is one of my favorite race tracks just because you can really move around and make different lines work. I feel like it’s pretty easy to pass there if you’re better than somebody.”
Do you think tomorrow’s race will be chaotic?
“I think it’s going to be pretty similar to what we saw last year. A lot of guys were making mistakes today, just pushing hard. I was just telling him (reporter) that the backstretch chicane is very, very tough to get slowed down for.”
What’s it like to finally be able to announce your big news?
“It was really frustrating because I knew for such a long time and everyone else knew too, but nobody could talk about it. Everyone is like ‘what are you doing next year?’ I’m like ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ It was really rewarding to finally get it out there.”
How are you going to get acclimated to making the transition to the Cup Series without getting into a Cup car before next year?
“It’s just going to be a matter of just trying to maximize the practices that you get and the seat time in the races. I don’t know. It’s going to be really different. The rules package between the two series right now is extremely different, so it’s definitely going to take some adjusting to get used to.”
What do you think has been the best form of preparation to get to this level and go after another Xfinity Series championship?
“Well first off, we do have a great opportunity to win the Xfinity championship and that’s pretty much the focus right there. We want to really execute on that and try and be better at Homestead. Last year, Homestead was one of our worst races of the season and we’ve got to make sure that that’s not a problem again this year.”
What kind of satisfaction did it give you to go out last weekend and win in your own equipment in a sprint car?
“Yeah, that was one of the most gratifying wins I’ve ever had just being a first-time winner as a car owner and winning. My buddy built the race car and we were using all of his gear, so that was really rewarding.”
What is it about this place that you feel like you’ve mastered in the second year of the ROVAL?
“I don’t know if I’ve got it mastered at all, but our Toyota simulator was really close and that helped get us close right off the truck.”
How disappointed will you be if you’re not hoisting the trophy at Homestead this year?
“It’ll be pretty disappointing, but ultimately it’s just one race. We can’t let one race define our season.”
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