Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell was made available to the media on Saturday prior to practice for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Nashville Superspeedway. 

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

Would you prefer wet or dry conditions at Chicago next weekend? How technical is the track?

“Yeah, I think at this point, I’d probably prefer the rain. Going into the Chicago street race, we had a really good practice and I was looking forward to a dry race. And then the wet, and when we started the race, we just took off and were really good. The track is very, very technical, very high risk and high reward. I think it’s turn four, which is a very fast section of the race track, gets very tight and you have to push hard there to make some lap time. And I don’t know the turns very well, after we come through that half-circle on the backside of the race track, that’s another section that’s super fast, super rough. Really easy to throw it into the wall there. The race track is filled with a lot of very high risk, high reward corners and you want to do good, you have to push the car hard and be right on the edge.”

You’re very humble, but will you admit how good your skills were to get that victory last weekend?

“Well, I will say our package is very good there (New Hampshire). Obviously, Adam (Stevens, crew chief) has been doing a good job giving me what I need to be successful. It goes hand-in-hand. I’m not going to win without Adam and he has won without me, but it goes hand-in-hand. I will admit it’s a good race track for me, but my car’s really good there.

What do you feel you need to improve on here at Nashville?

“I don’t know. I felt really good with the old car, whenever we came here, but both races with the Next Gen car, it’s been pretty hit or miss. Last year, looking back at it, some times in the race, I had speed where I was capable to be with the frontrunners, so that leaves me optimistic about today. But, yeah it’s just a track we don’t have a lot of time on, nobody has a lot of time on. So, hopefully we can make improvements on it this year.”

Why do you feel Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are so strong this year?

“I don’t know. Obviously, it’s two of the premier teams in the sport and they’ve got really good people at Hendrick (Motorsports and Gibbs (Joe Gibbs Racing) and it’s showing. I think once the Next Gen came out, there was a lot of parity in the field as no one knew what the car liked as far as setups and stuff like that. And as we’ve gotten deeper in the Next Gen era, you’re starting the see the cream rise to the top again.”

Having multiple wins already this season, how does that help you build towards the Playoffs?

“Oh my gosh. We’ve been trying to work towards this the last three years. It feels very rewarding to have Playoff points in the bank right now. We’ve got a great opportunity to get more. This is what everybody wants in the regular season, to get out of here with a lot of Playoff points. It feels much different from what we’ve had in the past, that’s for sure.”

Have you figured out what made you so strong in the wet weather conditions last weekend?

“I mean yeah, we debrief every Monday, so we’ve had plenty of time to talk about it at this point. You know, it’s not one thing in particular, just putting the previous experiences to use of what we did at North Wilkesboro when we put on the wet weather tires and what we did at Richmond when we put them on. And then everyone executed really well. My pit crew did a great job in the dry, they didn’t take us out of it, they did a great job when we went to the wet tires. Adam and the engineers did a great job making sure the car balance was good and I was able to keep it out of the wall. Yeah, it was just a perfect weekend of execution.”

How much has your season outlook changed with your recent performances?

“Yeah, I mean it just goes to show that it can happen at any point. Before Charlotte, I think I had like six (Playoff points) and then at Charlotte, we were able to win the race and win a couple stages and get up into the teens. It doesn’t take much to get a big boost in the Playoff points. Hope we can keep stacking them up and that’s what we’re here for. Yeah, it feels nice to finally be running like how this 20 car should be running.”

What is it about Nashville that suits you so well?

“I mean the package is really good for the JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) cars and we run the intermediate package here. While it’s smaller than a normal mile-and-a-half, it basically is a concrete mile-and-a-half. It’s like a Dover and (Las) Vegas, Kansas, Charlotte mixed together. Those were all good places for JGR and our cars suit this race track.”

One Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief said they’re trying something new this weekend. Does that apply to all of the team’s cars?

“That’s a good question, and honestly, I have no idea. I’ll let you know here in an hour or so.”

What will you do during the Olympic break? What Summer Olympic sport would you want to compete in?

“What’s that sport called, bobsledding, right? Oh, summer sport, got it. Well, bobsledding, I’ve always been intrigued by bobsledding. I don’t know. But yes, I’ll be paying attention to the (Olympic) sports and taking it easy. I don’t have a plan yet, but I’m sure I’ll find something to do.”

Toyota Racing PR