Hours earlier than the beginning of Sunday’s race, wherein Bell was one in all 4 drivers competing for the 2022 Cup collection championship, he and his fellow JGR drivers have been knowledgeable of the dying of Coy Gibbs, father of 2022 Xfinity Collection champion Ty Gibbs and son of group proprietor Joe Gibbs, at 49.
The information despatched a shockwave by the NASCAR paddock and inside the JGR organisation.
“You get up very first thing this morning and tremendous excited and thrilled with life and the place you’re at and the chance given to you. To obtain information like that a couple hours earlier than you get within the automotive is extraordinarily powerful,” stated Bell, 27, who was competing for his first collection title.
“Simply actually form of places it in perspective that what we’re doing right here is just not the massive image for certain. Yeah, simply considering of Joe. I simply can’t think about what Joe goes by and your complete Gibbs household. That’s the necessary piece.”
Bell stated he and the opposite JGR drivers have been in shock on the Sunday morning, not understanding whether or not they need to compete or not. Simply earlier than the motive force introductions, Bell stated group president Dave Alpern inspired them to take action.
“That was an expertise like I’ve by no means gone by in my whole life,” Bell stated. “In that second you don’t know what’s proper and what’s mistaken and also you don’t know in case you ought to get within the race automotive and race, in case you shouldn’t race.”
Bell and his #20 Toyota group – which have been one in all high performing groups within the playoffs – nonetheless managed to provide an excellent account of themselves.
Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, DeWalt Toyota Camry
Picture by: Jasen Vinlove / NKP / Motorsport Images
Though he struggled in apply and certified 17th, Bell managed to work his solution to 11th by the top of the primary stage.
He by no means led a lap however at one level late within the last stage he was in place to run down eventual winner and collection champion Joey Logano – however ended up unable to take action.
A gradual last pit cease shuffled Bell again within the discipline however he rallied to complete 10th within the race and took third within the last season standings, a career-best.
“There have been a pair issues that we undoubtedly might have accomplished totally different at present, however in the end (Logano) was lights out all weekend, profitable the pole and being tremendous sturdy in apply,” Bell stated.
“We have been simply form of taking part in catch-up, the remainder of us have been taking part in catch-up to him. One of the best automotive received the championship for certain.”
Bell ended the season with three wins, 12 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes and received 4 poles. He twice received last-chance elimination races within the playoffs to advance to the title race.
“I feel the season was profitable. To get to the ultimate 4 is what each driver in NASCAR’s objectives are. I’m very pleased with that effort,” he stated.
“With 40 or 50 (laps) to go, the final inexperienced flag pit cease we put ourselves in place to race for it. You’ll be able to’t ask for far more than that.”