Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to the media on Wednesday prior to the Daytona 500.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to the media on Wednesday prior to the Daytona 500.

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 DEWALT – Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

Does it feel like you’ve improved at the superspeedways?

“I’m getting better. I hate them, but it has been going better. I’ve just been luckier. I joke because ever since me and Adam (Stevens, crew chief) got paired up, I told Adam that speedway racing is 100 percent luck. I know that is not true. I don’t know – for whatever reason, it has come our way more. Definitely the addition of Atlanta on the superspeedway side of things – Atlanta has been good to us for some reason. I don’t know why but that has been the best speedway race of the bunch, and then Talladega has been by far the worse. We’ve done better for whatever reason, and hopefully I can keep it up.”

With two wildcard races to start the schedule this year, how important is it to get off to a good start?

“Yeah, that’s tough. It could go really bad. Two superspeedway races back-to-back are really tough and hard on the drivers and hard on equipment for sure. I like Atlanta, though, and Daytona was good to me last year, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

What’s your perspective on the new Toyota Camry race car?

“Most of our people inside the team are excited about it. I think that Daytona, Talladega – the superspeedway qualifying stuff may take a little bit of a hit, but we are excited about how it could race, but no one knows until we get it on track.”

How important are the Duels tomorrow?

“The Duels are everything. Having that as a practice session, that is the most valuable practice session that you are going to get, so they are going to be very important tomorrow.”

How long did it take you to get over Phoenix?

“Honestly, I felt really good about Phoenix, and how we ended there. Obviously, it was disappointing, but I was pretty content and at peace. Really, almost instantaneously. The anger and frustration I had was whenever my brakes were in the process of failing, and when they did fail – you know what, it wasn’t meant to be this year. The grieving process was surprisingly short, and I felt good about moving on. I was looking forward to the future.”

Will the Duels be a good time to test the new noses?

“I think the Duels will be super important to get a feel of how well or not how well you can push and how aggressive you can be with pushes. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes pushing, so hopefully I can keep it clean this time.”

How much of an advantage is it to have the addition of LEGACY MOTOR CLUB this season?

“I think it is definitely an advantage if we can get to the end of the race. If we can get to the end of the race with all of our cars standing, I feel confident that our chances will be higher of getting a Toyota in victory lane.”

What’s the offseason been like for you?

“Pretty boring. I’ve been ready to race. It seemed like November and December went by really quick, but once January got here, it slowed down. I’ve been ready to race. I’ve been ready.”

What has it been like since the Clash?

“The Clash was a tough one to swallow and moving on from that has been difficult, and I’m glad we’re finally here. Once the race season gets started, you can move on from races pretty easily, but definitely missing the Clash was not ideal.”

What do you expect for qualifying this evening?

“That is a great question. I wouldn’t expect the Toyotas to be up there with our new cars, from the sounds of it, it doesn’t seem like we aren’t going to increase our speed qualifying at the speedways. I think the Fords have the potential to be really good. The Chevrolets and Hendrick has been the benchmarks. I think it will be up to the Fords to take them down.”

When you say you don’t expect much from the Toyotas, is that an aero thing?

“Just an aero thing.”

Do you feel like an elder statesman at Joe Gibbs Racing?

“No, I don’t (laughter). I don’t. I have Martin (Truex Jr.) and Denny (Hamlin), who are old and veterans and legends, and then I have Ty (Gibbs), who is younger than me but has been around the JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) family forever. I’m still the new guy on campus.”

How much do you have to learn tomorrow?
“The Duels are going to be huge. That is going to be the best practice we get for the Daytona 500, and especially with our new cars – new nose and tails – it is going to be very important to feel that out and understand how much grip we have when we are pushing.”

Do you have an early indication of how that is going to feel or check back in with you after the Clash?

“Yeah, data says that, but we won’t truly know until Thursday when we get on track.”

What have you noticed about Ty Gibbs?

“I think Ty (Gibbs) is destined for great things this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win multiple races. He came really close last year, and then he was in position to win the Clash. He’s going to be fast at a lot of different racetracks. He’s matured a lot and I think he’s ready.”

What jumped out to you about Ty when you first met him?

“He’s just so young. I mean, I’m a young guy, but I think he’s eight years younger than me. He’s matured a lot and he’s always had the raw speed and now that he’s getting experience, he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with.”

What is the role he plays in the team?

“I mean, he’s in an interesting place, because he is part of their family but he’s a driver. He’s another driver. He’s our teammate and so he’s treated like our teammate in the competition meeting and his feedback has definitely become more valuable. That happens as drivers get older and more experienced.”

Where do you feel you and Adam Stevens are in, in the cycle of your relationship?

“I think we are in a really good spot. We continue to get more and more gelled together, and I think we poised for more great things in 2024 than we had in 2023. I’m looking forward to what we have in store.”

Toyota Racing PR