Mission Accomplished as Bell Checks Homestead-Miami Speedway off the list

Mission Accomplished as Bell Checks Homestead-Miami Speedway off the list

Contact: Matt Cleary

(5 March 2011) Running his rookie year of GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition, Tim Bell has a lot of new tracks to learn, race craft to study, and competitors to become familiar with as he jumps into the pro ranks of GRAND-AM racing. The Doran Racing driver got to check a few boxes off that list this weekend as he delivered another solid performance in the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead Miami Speedway on Saturday.

Sharing the No. 14 Doran Racing BMW 128i with BJ Zacharias, the Homestead event marked Bell’s official race debut at the challenging track, with only several test days under his belt. Having struggled with handling issues throughout the weekend, Bell qualified the No. 14 machine on the outside of row six to start 12th on the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner grid.

The Doran Racing team made improvements to the car with some continued tuning in an effort to make the handling of the car more like it had been in testing, as a handling balance was sought on the mixed oval and road course configuration. The team’s efforts proved successful when Bell ran sixth quick in Saturday morning’s final practice session.

Bell took the green flag for the 2.5 hour race and quickly worked his way into the eighth position. During an early yellow flag, Bell handed the car over to co-driver B.J. Zacharias, who suffered a setback when a flat tire

This forced an unscheduled pit stop under green flag conditions, and agonizingly set the early effort back which resulted in the No. 14 going a lap down. During the extended stop, Bell once again took over driving duties and battled to gain back the lap that had been lost. Despite the altered pit strategy, Bell delivered the BMW across the finish line in the 14th position.

“It was another good weekend,” said Bell. “It was crazy out there but I just tried to keep the car clean. Bringing the car home in one piece was the most important thing and we did that. The car was better with the new diff and it felt a lot better although you are always looking for more! We’re still developing the car, and learning what it likes so even though we didn’t have a top result, we learned a lot and can build on this next round at Barber. I also learned a lot and felt like I did my job, so now I’m just really looking forward to Barber. I think this car should be very good there particularly if we can get the balance right.”

The Kia 200 will be broadcast March 19 at 2:00 PM (ET) on SPEED.

Bell will continue to learn the ins and outs of the No. 14 BMW when he and Zacharias head to Barber Motorsports Park for round 3 of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge April 7-9.

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