Interstate Batteries Racing: Christopher Bell Las Vegas Advance

Christopher Bell
Daytona 500 Advance
No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry XSE for Joe Gibbs Racing

Event Overview

● Event: Las Vegas 400 (Round 3 of 36)
● Time/Date: 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 3
● Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
● Layout: 1.5-mile oval
● Laps/Miles: 267 laps/400 miles
● Stage Lengths: Stage 1: 80 laps / Stage 2: 85 laps / Final Stage: 102 laps
● TV/Radio: FOX / PRN / SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Notes of Interest

● Outrageously Dependable for 33 Years and Counting: Interstate Batteries has 11 primary sponsorships on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2024, a similar number of schemes to last year’s expanded presence among all four JGR Toyota Camry XSEs. Along with another appearance in the Daytona 500 already in the books, Interstate’s colors will have co-primary sponsorships at the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May, and the Cup Series season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Bell kicked off the Team Interstate effort as a co-primary sponsor at Daytona. Bell and Ty Gibbs will run the majority of the Interstate Batteries’ races with his second of four total Interstate races coming this weekend at Las Vegas, with veteran Denny Hamlin in Interstate colors for two races and Martin Truex Jr., carrying a primary Interstate Batteries sponsorship for one race. Hamlin will drive the No. 11 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry XSE in the March 26 race at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, as well as the NASCAR Cup Series’ first-ever race at Iowa Speedway in Newton on June 16. Truex, the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series champion, will again pilot the No. 19 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry July 23 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.

● Double Duty: In addition to piloting his fulltime ride in the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Camry this weekend in Las Vegas, Bell will take a shot racing for Tricon Garage in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race on Friday night. Bell is the 2017 Truck Series champion.

● Bell has two top-five finishes and four top-10s and has led a total of 93 laps in eight career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas. Bell’s average Las Vegas finish is 17.4.

● The 2024 season marks Bell’s fifth fulltime season in the NASCAR Cup Series. He has eight career Cup Series starts on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval. Of those eight starts, his best career points-paying finish was a strong second-place run in last year’s October playoff race there. Bell is looking to build on the momentum of back-to-back appearances in the Championship 4 of the playoffs with the No. 20 team and two-time Cup Series championship-winning crew chief Adam Stevens.

● Outside of the NASCAR Cup Series, Bell has made four career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts at Las Vegas. He’s brought home three top-five finishes and three top-10s in those four Xfinity Series starts and added one pole, which came in March 2018.

● With his 34th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend after being involved in an early race incident, Bell heads to Las Vegas 16th in the standings with 47 points, 30 out of the lead.

Christopher Bell, Driver of the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry TRD

What are your expectations for Las Vegas this weekend?

“Las Vegas has a ton of grip, probably the highest level of grip of any track we go to. Last spring, the race at Vegas was completely different than we have seen with this car so far. It had a lot to do with colder ambient temperatures and no sun, and we are expecting some cooler temperatures this weekend, especially on Sunday. Last fall, it was obviously warmer and made the track more slick. Not sure how much rubber we will put down this weekend to widen the track. Vegas is a place where if you are typically faster than the guy in front of you, then you can pass them because you can move around. You can run the top, you can run the bottom, you can create momentum on guys, and the same thing can be said if you are bad – you can’t hold off guys if they are faster than you. We obviously had a great car there last fall and came so close to winning there. Hoping we can put it all together and finally get a win with our Interstate Batteries Camry at a place that’s been good for us.”

What does it mean to be part of the Interstate Batteries program again this season?

“I think I’ve said this a few times before, but driving the Interstate Batteries car is kind of a rite of passage at JGR – it’s like you are officially part of the club. It’s a big deal to everyone at Interstate Batteries and everyone at JGR – they are the team’s founding partner. It’s an honor to be able to drive that car and would be even more special to get a win for those guys. We know we are heading to a place at Las Vegas where we can get them a win. I know Kyle (Busch) has won a lot for them, and Bobby (Labonte) did back years ago. I would love to add my name to that list this weekend.”

Where do you feel you and crew chief Adam Stevens are in terms of the evolution of your relationship?

“I think we are in a really good spot. We continue to get more and more gelled together, and I think we are poised for more great things in 2024 than we had in 2023. I’m looking forward to what we have in store. This will be our first true 1.5-mile weekend and we hope it’s a good one for our entire team, but also for us on the Interstate Batteries No. 20 team.”

What are some of the things Adam has brought to the table that has sharpened you?

“Adam has been able to instill confidence in me by giving me fast racecars and cars that I know are going to handle good enough for me. He’s probably the best leader that I’ve ever driven for. He knows how to manage the highs and lows of a season, and he definitely can bring out the best in me.”

Do you feel like an elder statesman at Joe Gibbs Racing?

“No, I don’t (laughter). I don’t. I have Martin (Truex Jr.) and Denny (Hamlin), who are old and veterans and legends, and then I have Ty (Gibbs), who is younger than me but has been around the JGR family forever. I’m still the new guy on campus.”

No. 20 Interstate Batteries Team Roster

Primary Team Members

Driver: Christopher Bell

Hometown: Norman, Oklahoma

Crew Chief: Adam Stevens

Hometown: Portsmouth, Ohio

Car Chief: Chris Sherwood

Hometown: Portsmouth, Virginia

Spotter: Stevie Reeves

Hometown: Speedway, Indiana

Race Engineer: William Hartman

Hometown: Laingsburg, Michigan

Team Engineer: Chris Whitenight

Hometown: Berwick, Pennsylvania

Road Crew Members

Truck Driver: John Maybry

Hometown: Campobello, SC

Mechanic: Wesley Lape Hometown: Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

Ride and Handling Engineer: Chris Chase

Hometown: Nichole, New York

Truck Driver: Glenn Funderburk

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Mechanic/Tire Specialist: Bryce Bratton

Hometown: Maiden, North Carolina

Over-The-Wall Crew Members

Gas Man: Peyton Moore

Hometown: Buford, Georgia

Jackman: Derrell Edwards

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Tire Carrier: Jake Holmes

Hometown: Westborough, Massachusetts

Front Tire Changer: Blake Houston

Hometown: Enochville, North Carolina

Rear Tire Changer: Mike Hicks

Hometown: China Grove, North Carolina

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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