Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro celebrates his win
“I felt like that was my moment because we had a great Saturday, I won the pole, I passed (Larson) early on in the race and run out front of him for a period of time. So, we had everything that we needed to go out there and win the race,” Bell said.
“You never know what’s going to happen, right? Certainly, my opportunity to make the final four is not over by any means but that was a ‘golden ticket’ that was a car length away from me and I didn’t make it happen.
“I know that if I want to make (Phoenix), I’m going to win at Homestead or Martinsville. Now, that’s if everything goes normally. If people have issues, then it could be dramatically different but we’re going to have to duplicate what we did at Las Vegas.”
That would generally sound like an extremely difficult task.
However, Bell has been one of most consistent performers in the playoffs this season, especially in terms of bringing fast cars to the track with the capability to compete for wins.
He has won six poles this season and four have been in playoff races, including the first three. He has yet to turn one into a win, but the potential to do so has been clear virtually every week.
Kyle Larson, Hendrick Motorsports, HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro takes the checkered flag to beat Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Rheem / Smurfit Kappa Toyota Camry
“I know we have the talent to go out there and do what we need to do every Saturday and Sunday,” he said. “I do believe we can do it. I know it’s going to be hard but I absolutely believe we can do it.
“Yes, I felt like (Sunday) was our moment to make the final four. It was a moment to make the final four, but I don’t think that it was the only moment to make the final four.”
Bell has two races remaining to win his way into the championship battle – Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway and the following week at Martinsville, Va., where he scored one of his “must win” victories last season.
While Homestead is a similar 1.5-mile intermediate track like Las Vegas, Bell’s success there has been lackluster. In three Cup races, he’s led a total of four laps and had a best finish of eighth.
“I do wish we were going to a handful of other race tracks,” Bell said. “If you go there and you’re fast, you’re going to have a great day. If you go there and you’re slow, you’re going to have a really bad day. It’s not my most confident track.
“But it’s a great race track and a place where if you are fast, you can control your own destiny. We just have to be fast, and if we’re not fast, then we don’t deserve to be going to the final four. So, it is what it is.”