Toyota Racing – Christopher Bell
NASCAR Cup Series Quotes
AVONDALE, Arizona (March 6, 2020) – Leavine Family Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to media at Phoenix Raceway:
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 95 Procore Toyota Camry, Leavine Family Racing
How was your car in practice?
“It was cool. It was a totally different mindset – totally different game than what we had the last couple weeks with intermediate practices. That was nice. It was a fresh breath of air to work on the race car during practice and not wonder, you always work on the race car, but not look at the speed charts there and know it’s pretty real. You don’t have to worry about who’s drafting and who’s not drafting.”
How are you at saving tires?
“I think the biggest thing is that race cars save tires in my opinion. If you have a good race car then you don’t have to drive hard and in return you save your tires. If your car is not as fast, you have to drive hard to keep up and then you end up hurting your tires on the backside.”
Have you worked on anything to be better at saving tires with your race craft?
“A little bit of making sure you don’t slip them, that’s the biggest thing. You want to take your car to right at the edge of out of control, but not go over the line because the more you slip and slide around, the more you’re going to hurt them.”
How do you feel about going back to Atlanta?
“I love Atlanta, it’s been really good for me. We haven’t run very well on the intermediates yet, but we’re going to keep digging and keep trying. This has been really rewarding to come to Phoenix with a low downforce package. It feels almost identical to the Xfinity cars, so it’s felt a little more at home and I feel like I understand what I need a lot more here than I have the last couple weeks.”
What has been the biggest eye opener for you these past few weeks?
“I don’t know, that’s a good question. Probably just how busy it is. That’s the best way I can put it. The west coast, it’s crazy. Even from the Xfinity side, you go home Saturday night so you have Sunday off and then you start again Monday. Where the Cup side, you race Sunday and then you start again Monday. It’s just been really, really busy. I’m just a driver, I can’t speak for the crew guys and stuff. This west coast swing has been extremely busy and extremely hard on everybody.”
Do you judge yourself against the other rookie drivers?
“I haven’t seen a checkered flag yet so it’s been pretty easy to not compare myself to other guys just because I haven’t finished – well, I finished at Las Vegas, but I crashed. We’re focused on finishing a race first before we start worrying about where we stack up with everybody.”
What is the biggest thing you’re focused on?
“The biggest thing is just getting to the end of the race. We see from all of the JGR cars, they’ve all been starting in the back and it takes them awhile, but eventually they get up front. I haven’t even seen stage two yet. I can’t speak to how we would run the second half of the race. Here we are at race four, hopefully I’ll be able to see the checkered flag.”
Are you hard on yourself or are you understanding that this is part of getting started?
“Especially California, there’s nothing really I could have done. I was pretty disappointed in Vegas, me crashing, not cool. Other than that, just here we go again. Week four.”
What’s easier, acclimating to the Cup Series or acclimating to married life?
“Married life has definitely been easier so far.”
What do little details mean on the race track?
“This place is huge for that too. The slightest bit of getting on the accelerator a little bit earlier in the corners, it’s huge lap time. Just not using the brake as much. Phoenix is definitely a place where details make a good driver good and what makes a bad driver bad here.”
What appreciation do you have for small details like speed of tire changers?
“It’s crazy. The pit crews, they do such a good job week in and week out. Some of them do, some of them do a bad job. It’s really – you have to respect all the guys down there on pit road that are jumping out in front of cars doing 60 mph and changing tires.”
Have you ever won or lost a race due to a tiny detail?
“Absolutely. I’ve had those little details slip away. My pit crew has had little details slip away. I think between the pit crew, the team and the driver, all three of us have screwed up and we’ve all done really good at those things too. There’s a ton of little things that make one big picture.”
How would you compare the Cup Series restarts to Xfinity Series restarts?
“I would say it relates a lot more to truck racing, just the way they pack up and the restarts. The restarts relate a lot more to truck racing. Then you’ve got more capable drivers – the truck series has capable drivers too, but the Cup Series has more of them. There’s more depth, there’s more competitive cars on the track. It’s like a truck race with 30 competitive cars.”
What do you expect in Sunday’s race?
“It’s just going to be as bunched up as however many cars hit the right setup. If you get 10 cars that are the same, then it’s going to be 10 cars right there racing for the lead. If you have one guy that hits the setup then he’s going to drive away. This is real racing, what we’re doing here today. The best car is going to get the lead and the best car is going to drive away.”
What was it like to watch Harrison Burton take the 20 car to victory lane last weekend?
“It was cool to see that. It was cool to see all the JGR cars were really fast. Brandon Jones did an excellent job, I was really bummed for him that he got caught up in that crash. They are hitting on all strides and everyone knew they would. That’s good.”
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