Toyota Racing – NCS Kansas Quotes – Christopher Bell – 05.04.24

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to media after earning the pole for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway.

This is Christopher’s 11th career pole, third at Kansas Speedway, and his first of 2024. Bell has the most pole positions in the Next Gen car era.

CHRISTOPHER BELL., No. 20 Yahoo! Toyota Camry XSE, Joe Gibbs Racing

How critical is starting up front for tomorrow’s race?

”Well, it’s incredibly nice to have some success. And my name’s Christopher for those who have forgotten (laughs). But yes, it’s nice to have success, but what happens on Saturday has no dictation on what happens Sunday. We’ve got a great starting spot and we’re in prime position to win some stage points. But 267 laps is a long time and I fully believe that we can have a great race tomorrow and definitely believe I can be talking to all of you guys in 24 hours after the race too. It just all has to come together and honestly at this point, I’m not looking for a race win, guys. I’m literally looking to see the checkered flag. And I know my car has great capabilities. If I just see the checkered flag with a clean car, we’re going to have a solid day and that’s what we’re after tomorrow.”

What is the thrill like running a lap like that?

”I mean, I love the high-speed places where you’re right on the verge of being wide open and not being wide open. The intermediates have been good for us. My team has done a really good job giving me the balance that I need in the car to be able to commit at the high-speed places. It’s a thrill like no other and I live for those qualifying moments.”

You took a different line than others on that lap. Is that correct?

”I honestly don’t know. I just did what I’ve done here in the past and it’s worked out.”

Who’s kept you confident over the last few weeks with the adversity you’ve faced?

“I don’t know, I feel like I’ve been pumping up everyone around me. We’ve all just been in the dumps, man. After Martinsville, we had a tire issue that lost us multiple laps. Then we go to Texas, and I spin out. Then at Talladega, we get caught up in a crash. Then at Dover, I spin out in qualifying, get caught up in a crash in the race. It’s just been one thing after another. We have debriefs every Monday, right? And after Martinsville, it was like ‘ah, it’s fine, we’ll get them next week.’ And then after Texas, it was like ‘man, this stinks. We’re two in a row, but we’re still alright.’ We go to Talladega and have a wreck, and it’s like we’re on this snowballing, downhill and this one was bottom of the barrel after Dover. It was bad. But the good news and positive out of it was every single time we go to the race track, we know that our cars are going to be fast and we’re going to have capability in our team. So we knew going into Dover, that could’ve been the week that it turned around. Obviously, it wasn’t, but it could be this week. We don’t know what’s going to happen in 267 laps, but whatever happens in 267 laps, I know that when we go to Darlington, we have another opportunity and I’m going to have a fast car underneath me.”

What are your thoughts about Darlington next weekend? Do you like that track?

“I love Darlington. I love the challenge of getting the car around the track. But with the time we’re in, the situation we’re in, passing has become extremely difficult and honestly, at Darlington, it’s become a place where after the restarts, where you land, it can be pretty hard to pass cars in front of you or get passed. So, I love the challenge of getting around the race track. I hate the challenge of making passes, and if you have a problem, it’s pretty tough to overcome. Yeah, qualifying is going to be important to start up front and then limiting mistakes and not losing track position is at an all-time high, especially at a place like Darlington.”