Through 12 races, the Joe Gibbs Racing stable has produced some exciting moments for NASCAR fans. Martin Truex Jr. won three races, Kyle Busch and Christopher Bell each won one, and Denny Hamlin established a massive lead in the points standings. The team remains destined for the playoffs, and Bell is happy that he did what was necessary early in the season.
The first-year JGR driver met with the media on Wednesday to discuss his brief time with the Toyota team and winning the race at the Daytona Road Course in February. He explained that the entire JGR stable is championship-caliber and that he was happy to be the first one to win a race, especially considering the history of success and level of competition on the team.
“I was prepared for having an all-star cast of teammates,” Bell explained. “You know that Denny, Martin, and Kyle are all going to be racing for the wins and racing for championships. It’s up to you. You know that you’ve got the equipment and all of the pieces of the puzzle to do it. You’ve got to go out there and get it done. I was definitely happy when I got the first win for JGR because I knew those guys weren’t going to be far behind me.”
Bell still has some work to do before he is on par with his teammates
Despite becoming the first JGR driver to reach Victory Lane, Bell explained that he isn’t yet on the same level as his teammates. He has one win on his resume, but he hasn’t competed for the championship trophy like his three teammates. Busch has won two while Truex has won another. Hamlin has yet to hoist the Bill France Cup, but he has competed in the championship race multiple times.
For Bell, he still has some work to do before he is on par with his teammates. Winning races will be a major part of this process, but so will partnering with his crew to make serious strides on race day. Bell is only in his first season with JGR, so he is still building that chemistry.
“I think that we’ve still got a ways to go before we are at the level of those guys,” Bell explained. “That’s me as a driver and our group getting fit together. Adam Stevens, my crew chief, is a championship-caliber crew chief. He’s won two championships.
“The team themselves have been there with the championships with Kyle as well. All of the people in the group have been there and done that. It’s just me getting used to them and them getting used to me. And, of course, me getting up to speed as a driver.”
Bell will continue to work on this chemistry at a track where he has previous success
With the media session over, Bell will prepare for the upcoming Drydene 400 at Dover International Speedway. This concrete oval is one with a reputation for rubber build-up and steep corners, which could create issues for some drivers. However, the 26-year-old has previous success at the Monster Mile.
In two full-time Xfinity Series seasons, Bell made four starts at Dover. He won two of these races and finished fourth in another. His lone finish outside the top 10 was 25th in 2019. He added another top-five finish while racing in the Truck Series.
Bell has not yet performed as well at Dover in his Cup Series career, finishing outside the top 20 during both 2020 races. However, he expressed anticipation for the trip to Delaware based on how the track fits his particular racing style.
“It’s a great race track for me,” Bell told media members. “I’ve always run well there in the Xfinity cars. Even in the Trucks. I know I didn’t win, but I had a couple of good runs. It’s just a track where you can drive really hard and attack really hard, and it’s something that fits my driving style.”