Following an on-track incident at Watkins Glen International, race-winner Kyle Larson sparked comments by saying that fellow NASCAR driver Christopher Bell “was not willing” to talk to him. Now the Joe Gibbs Racing driver has fired back with some strong comments of his own. Bell said that Larson “crossed a line” when he talked to the media.
The driver of the No. 20 JGR Toyota Camary made the comments to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass and other members of the media on Saturday, Aug. 14. Bell first explained that the two drivers each tried to call each other but did not answer for various reasons. He then said that Larson’s “apology” was a text message sent after midnight.
“On-track incident — whatever. Him crying to the media that I didn’t reply to his ‘sorry’ text message — like, come on,” Bell told media members. “The on-track incident? No, it did not cross the line. Him going to the media, complaining that I did not respond. Yes, I would say that crossed the line.
“How many times have I sent an apology call, first off, or a text message and not got a reply? Probably more times than I got a reply,” Bell continued. “I didn’t think it was a big deal at all.”
Bell Went Back & Watched the On-Track Incident Involving Larson
When the driver of the No. 5 spun the No. 20 during the final stage of the race at Watkins Glen, analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that Bell had not given his fellow driver enough room while going around Turn 1. However, Bell did not agree with this assessment. He viewed the incident differently after watching the film.
“I went back and looked at it on the SMT, which is real data, and I was a car length and a half above the normal bottom line,” Bell told Pockrass. “That was compared to my normal bottom line and his normal bottom line. He hit me and spun me out. I left him a lane and a half to not do that.”
Larson, on the other hand, initially thought that he was completely in the wrong after hitting Bell and spinning him. He also went back and watched the film before changing his opinion. Larson told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he and Bell both played roles in the late incident that relegated the No. 20 to a seventh-place finish.
Bell & Larson Will Face Off Once Again on a Road Course
The Cup Series schedule has moved on and left Watkins Glen in the rearview mirror, but the friction between the two drivers remains. Now Bell and Larson will face extra scrutiny as they suit up for another race on a road course.
The two drivers will join their peers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, Aug. 15, as they take on the IMS road course for the very first time in their Cup Series careers. Neither Bell nor Larson have experience on this track considering that they did not compete in the Xfinity Series race in 2020. Bell focused on his Cup Series career while Larson remained away from the track amid a suspension for his use of a racial slur.
According to “NBC Sports” writer Dustin Long, Bell said that he won’t race Larson any differently despite expressing frustration with his fellow driver. Though he acknowledged that they always “race each other extremely hard,” whether it is in NASCAR or or other series.
“He’s really talented,” Bell said on Saturday. “He’s going to be around for a while. I hope I’m around for awhile. Driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, I’ve got really good cars. He’s got really good cars at Hendrick (Motorsports). I think it’s hopefully going to be around for a while.”
The Verizon 200 at the Brickyard Cup Series race will take place on Sunday, Aug. 15, at 1 p.m. ET. NBC will provide coverage of the road course race as Bell, Larson, and their peers fight for the checkered flag.
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