Barber Breakthrough for Bell

Barber Breakthrough for Bell

Podium in just his third pro start

Matt Cleary, Sunday Group Management

(9 April 2011) – Tim Bell scored his first-ever GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge podium result on Saturday as the young Californian and his Doran Racing teammate BJ Zacharias finished second in the Barber 200 with the No. 14 Office Depot BMW 128i at Barber Motorsports Park.

As a rookie in GRAND-AM, Bell has quickly got up to speed learning the ins and outs of professional racecar driving, and Saturday’s accomplishment was another notch in his rapidly expanding experience base. Despite enduring a race weekend that didn’t get off to a quick start, Bell’s third-ever pro-race start had a nearly ideal ending as he and co-driver BJ Zacharias stood on the podium and relished the traditional champagne spray in the podium ceremonies.

Bell took the green flag and quickly picked his way through the field as he drove cleanly throughout the first four laps to make up five positions. He continued to show judgement and poise behind the wheel as he clicked off fast lap times and moved the BMW forward into the top-10. As the race neared the half-way point, Bell brought the No. 14 to pit lane for fuel and tires and handed over driving duties to Zacharias to take to the finish.

Despite quick pit work by the Doran Racing squad, Zacharias returned to the track with some work to do as he was deep in the pack. But the experienced racer was up to speed quickly, matching the quick pace previously set by Bell to push the machine ever closer to the front. That charge ended up just over one second short of the leader, but the result was still a welcome one for the entire Doran Racing team, which is staging the maiden campaign for the BMW 128i.

“When I started from 19th on the grid I just did my job and moved as many positions forward as possible,” said Bell. “ BJ just slowly worked his way up and then ran one of the the fastest times of the race.”

In a weekend that saw the Doran Racing team face numerous challenges leading up to the race including a transmission problem and a shortened final practice session, Bell faced limited practice time in his first visit to the Alabama natural terrain road course. However, the California native remained patient and optimistic throughout the weekend and that patience paid off for Bell as he made his first trip to the podium in the pro-driver ranks.

“With the challenges we had this weekend, I certainly didn’t know we were going to do this well,” Bell said of his second place result. “I was hoping for a top-10 because we were going to need at least a top-10 to keep in the points – but to come away with second is great. I had a couple really good battles out there, and it was a lot of fun. This was a great day and I’m leaving here with a smile, no question.”

Next up for Bell is the Bosch Engineering 200 at Virginia International Raceway May 13-14. The Barber 200 will broadcast April 16 at 2:00 PM (ET) on SPEED.

Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
317.908.2975 (m)

Based in Indianapolis, Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm.

Sunday Group Management works with clients in a variety of motorsports categories, including NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, Riley Technologies, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series organization Michael Shank Racing, Continental Tire, and several teams and drivers in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.

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