Toyota NCS Talladega quotes – Christopher Bell

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 SiriusXM Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

How do you approach these next races without a winner of the Playoffs for the moment?

“Yeah, that’s not the position we want him to be in, you know, going to Texas. I knew Texas was going to be a very, very important race. And I mean, I thought we were going to perform well and we performed well before the DNF, so you know our goal leaving Texas was to get above the cutoff line and maybe have a small bonus to Talladega and the Roval. And unfortunately, that’s not how it happened. And now the only way forward will be to try to score as many points as possible. So I’ll have to run hard all day tomorrow and see where the cards fall.

What’s the benefit of starting on pole knowing you’re after stage points and have you put more emphasis on starting ahead of the other drivers in the Playoffs?

“No, I mean the Speedway poles, they don’t have much to do with me, it’s more about the team and with us winning the pole here in the spring, we thought we would have a good luck but you know, you can go back to front and front to back, you know, a handful of times before you pay the points on lap 60. So you know, I think that winning pole is a great testimonial for the team, but really has no effect on tomorrow’s race.

Is it possible that Talladega will get more intense than usual for this race weekend?

“Yeah, I’m trying to think about the playoff race last year, it rained and I got to the end of the race. So I don’t remember many shipwrecks in this race in the you know, a year from now. But I do not know. I think people will be calm especially to start the race. And then, each time the time comes to get those points, it will increase and the probability of a shipwreck will increase.

How difficult is it to go up and back in the terrain with this car?

“So I would say Talladega is generally a little easier to move back and forth than Daytona just because of the width and generally the lanes aren’t as blocked. But you know, generally speaking, I don’t don’t have a ton of superspeedway experience with this car. I wrecked very early at the Daytona 500. And then the Daytona fall race, I wrecked again early. Talladega, I guess I had a good race, but I didn’t race for the win at the end of the race because I got stuck one lap in. So, you know, hopefully the Toyotas can get together because ‘seems to be at least my most successful Speedway races whenever I have a group to work with and I’m not just going my own way. Yeah, I don’t know if that really answers. But you know, Speedway racing hasn’t really been kind to me, so hopefully we can change this rec. it tomorrow.

Were you able to attend or watch the driver meeting with Jeff Burton yesterday?

“Yeah, I’ve been able to call and listen and for sure the positives are you know there are things going on to improve rear impacts specifically. And ironically the majority of my crashes this year have been rear impacts and they hurt a lot so I’m glad there’s things going on to improve those styling impacts and hopefully we can just keep improving the safety of the Next Gen car because wrecks hurt right now.

Do you ever look back on one of your impacts and worry that it was a concussion and not just a simple headache?

“I mean, it’s hard to say that you know that a headache is definitely not a good sign or a good symptom, but in the days gone by, I can’t remember any symptoms that raised questions. red flags that I shouldn’t be in the race car the following week. So if that was the case, then I definitely would have put my hand up and said, “Hey guys, something’s wrong. “But luckily I guess I was able to recover or, you know, just the symptoms were gone.

Do you ever feel like you’re in a win-win situation?

“I mean, pretty close. I think if we went anywhere but Talladega it would be more likely to be a must win but tomorrow there’s probably going to be some crashes and out of the 12 cars I guess some of those 12 cars are going to have bad days. I hope it’s not me and you know, so that being said, we’ll assess the points after Talladega and see where we are. So yeah, I think, you know, that’s one thing that works to my advantage in the position that I’m in. Because, you know, you never know what’s going to happen in Talladega. And it could be a good day for me. It could be a bad day for me, we just don’t know.

Starting from pole tomorrow, do you feel more pressure to win stage points in the race?

“Yeah, that’s our number one goal, that’s for sure. And that was before we even qualified. So before Texas, our ideal situation was to score high points in Texas. And then basically riding in Talladega and trying to, you know, miss the wrecks at the start of the race and take our top 20 or whatever we could get in Talladega. And since we don’t get any points in Texas, it forces us to go through these stage points. So, starting from pole, hopefully we can maintain our position on the track throughout the first 60 laps, but it’s so long. And we have to have a green flag pitstop in there. So it’s just a long way to go before they pay out stage points, but for sure we have to be in the running. And we’re going to have to keep going if we want to move on.

How does a dwarf wreck compare to the wrecks of this Next Gen car?

“I’m trying to think, but I guess they’re similar. If you bump your head, you bump your head. And certainly rear impacts for whatever reason or impacting your head, that’s a problem. But yeah, so I would say if you bump your head, you bump your head.

Do you gear up in toy car wrecks like they ask you to in Next Gen cars?

“So that’s usually my hug effect. I will lock my HANS tethers, grab the steering wheel and close my eyes and brace for impact, but interestingly this is the worst thing for a rear impact. And I’m sure it’s also the same way of sprinting in a car. So, you know, one thing that we talked about is, you know, reducing our Hans ties, which ironically, Kyle Busch has been really, really tough since he had his incident at Daytona years ago. So that was every time I started in NASCAR and he pushed me to make our HANS attachments as short as possible. So I’ll probably take another step and make them shorter just to keep my head more contained. But yeah, the impact of the brace is definitely, you know, lock your head forward and squeeze the steering wheel as hard as you can.

Is it odd that the narrative changed with this Next Gen car to the dangers or concerns of stock car racing versus the dangers of sprint car racing?

“Yeah, I think it’s very, very, very surprising and not where we want to be sure as stock car racing in general. But the good news is that we realize where we are, I think, in as an industry and at least since our meeting yesterday, it seems like NASCAR you know, they understand where we are and everyone is focused on moving forward But yeah, it’s surprising, and I don’t think anyone would have seen it coming a few years ago.

TRD RP

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