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Bell has been "extremely disappointed" by 2024 season, despite wins

With a pair of victories already in the 2024 NASCAR Cup season, Christopher Bell looks like he’s sitting pretty – and in some ways he is – but he’s far from where he wants to be.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem Toyota Camry

Bell picked up an important win on Sunday night in the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – the longest race of the year also pays the most points because it’s divided into four stages.

And while Bell was already locked into the playoffs thanks to his win earlier this season at Phoenix, more victories mean more playoff points, which will help in his hunt for the series championship.

The win also helps Bell and his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota team soothe over a recent rocky stretch in which he had one top-10 finish in his previous six races. He’s also crashed out of three races this year and has five finishes of 33rd or worse.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem Toyota Camry

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem Toyota Camry

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

It’s that up-and-down nature of his performance that gnaws at Bell, mostly because he’s acutely aware that he and his team are capable so much more.

“Honestly, this No. 20 team is at a really good spot because now we’re sitting halfway through the regular season with two wins, which is amazing, but we’ve been extremely disappointed with how our season has gone,” Bell, 29, said.

“I think that just goes to show that the ceiling is there, and the capability of this team is there. We haven’t been performing like we want to, but if we put all of it together, we can certainly be a contender week-in and week-out and be a guy that wins a handful of races year-in and year- out.

“That’s the end goal. I don’t want to be just a one- or two-win-a-year person. I want to be a five- to 10-win-a-year person.”

Even though Bell’s win came in a rain-shortened race on Sunday night, he clearly had shown by the third stage that he had one of the fastest cars.

His pit crew was impressive, he held off some very determined competition on the two restarts prior to the final caution for rain and he led 90 of the 249 laps completed.

It was a shortened, but solid day for a team that has not had many this season.

“Hopefully shows that we have capability,” Bell said. “I hate talking the talk and not being able to walk the walk behind it, but I know and my team knows and my company knows, Toyota knows that we have the capability to be a factor week in and week out.

“It just hasn’t come together yet.”

Keeping spirits high despite setbacks

Bell’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, said the most important part of navigating an up-and-down season is maintaining confidence they have what it takes to contend every week.

“If you’re confident you’re doing all the right things that you need to be doing, which I am and I know that we are, you can have nights like this just as easy as you can have days like we had a couple weeks ago,” he said.

“But you’ve got to stay upbeat, you have to focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses and take it as it comes. You can’t make it happen a lot of times. You have to let it happen.”

The upcoming summer stretch of the Cup schedule should provide Bell and the No. 20 team opportunities for more good runs or even wins.

While Bell has struggled at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, he excelled on road courses and run well at New Hampshire and Iowa, whether it be in Cup or the Xfinity Series.

“We’re in a great part of the schedule, and the cool thing is that I feel like every time we go to the race track I should have capability and have a chance to win,” Bell said.

“We’ve just got to keep pushing in the right direction. The last several weeks have not been good, but I know that I have the right people around me to succeed and do really good things.”

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