By Jerry Jordan, Editor
JUSTIN, TX – It had been 72-hours, 28-minutes and 34-seconds since Christopher Bell – or any other NASCAR driver – turned a lap at Texas Motor Speedway due to continued rain and mist that stalled in the area but his third-place run was a bright spot in what had been a cold and wet four days.
“Yeah, it was crazy,” Bell said. “That’s definitely the longest race I’ve ever been a part of, starting on Sunday and ending on a Wednesday. I was really happy that we were able to get it in and get the full distance in. I basically needed all the laps I got to get up to the front. Very proud of everyone at NASCAR and Texas Motor Speedway for sticking it out and all the effort they’ve put in the last couple days. It’s been pretty crazy to see all the time and effort to dry the racetrack and continue to dry the racetrack and finally get it in today.”
Asked if he thought he had an easy run to the checkered flag, Bell was quick to say it was a hard-fought third-place finish that felt like he has to do all he could to come from the back of the pack.
“It felt like we were coming from the back almost every yellow flag,” he said.
Early on in a run, he was having trouble getting going but the car came to him and then on the final restart, he said he was happy there were no cautions in the final stage of the race because he had a car for long runs.
“I was very happy to see that last stage go green,” Bell said. “I knew our car was really, really good. We were able to pass guys pretty easily and really carry momentum. I was happy with our Procore Camry pretty much all day. I was a little bit loose to start on Sunday and I knew if we could get it tightened up that we’d be pretty fast. Jason did a great job and we were able to execute and come away with a nice finish.
“I wouldn’t say that there’s more focus on Texas. I would say Texas is definitely a strength for me as a driver, and so it was definitely a race that I looked at and knew that we could run well at, but I’m not going to say that we put extra effort into this race, no.”
So far, it has been a lackluster season for Bell, who drives for Levine Family Racing – a team that will shut down at the end of 2020. He said his team has rallied around him and there’s no quit in them. They want to win as bad as he does but he admits he would like to give them better results.
“Yeah, I would say overall that this year has been extremely disappointing from my standpoint and I’m sure everyone involved was expecting a lot more out of it, and unfortunately it didn’t work out that way,” Bell said. “But we’ve had great showings over the course of the year, or a couple of them anyway, we just haven’t got good finishes. I’m happy that we were able to get a good finish today, and I want to finish on a high note here in the last two.
“Obviously the goal is to win, and I felt like we had a Camry that was capable of winning tonight, just wasn’t able to pass the 19 car whenever I caught him, and then if I would have passed the 19 car, the 18 was going to be the same story, trying to catch him and pass him. I felt like we had enough car speed to win today, just didn’t work out in our favor.”
Looking ahead to next Sunday’s race at Martinsville, Bell said he isn’t really comfortable on the half-mile paperclip oval; however, he is looking forward to the final race of the season at Phoenix Raceway – just 11 days away.
“Phoenix is a great racetrack for me, and I understand it’s the championship finale but hopefully we can have a good showing there, and we’ve still got two more opportunities to win, so we’re going to give it our all,” he said.