New Track and a New Challenge For Tim Bell at Virginia International Raceway

New Track and a New Challenge For Tim Bell at Virginia International Raceway

Podium Momentum as Bell adds to racing resume this weekend (SPEED, MAY 22 1:00 PM)

Danville, Va. (11 May 2011) – To look at Tim Bell’s race results, one would be hard-pressed to know that the young Californian is but a rookie, running his first season of GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition. So far this season, Bell’s 2011 racing resume — already credited with a podium finish and a top-15 result in just three starts in the pro ranks to date — seems to reflect the results of a much more experienced driver.

Bell travels to Virginia this weekend for the Bosch Engineering 200 at Virginia International Raceway, carrying the momentum of his first-ever pro podium result. The Bosch 200 will mark Bell’s debut race visit to the track, and he wants to make it just as memorable as his breakthrough run at Barber Motorsports Park, where he and co-driver BJ Zacharias combined for a strong run to second place with the Office Depot No. 14 BMW 128i.

The Barber result also marked the first-ever podium for the BMW 128i, as Doran Racing stages the machine’s maiden GRAND-AM campaign. With the runner-up result, Bell currently sits second in the MESCO Building For The Future Rookie of the Year Award Standings, just 36 points out of the top spot. Bell’s strong showing at Barber also saw him leap four spots in the Continental Tire Street Tuner (ST) Driver Point Standings to sit fifth in a stout field of over 55 drivers.

Throughout the opening rounds of the 2011 season, Bell has shown how quickly he acclimates himself to different tracks and the various challenges each one presents. VIR’s 17-turn, 3.27-mile track adds yet another new experience and learning opportunity for Bell. The race marks the fourth round of the 10-race season as Bell continues to pick up the pace in his 2011 rookie campaign.
“It’s been a lot of fun traveling to all of these tracks and learning the intricacies of each one,” said Bell. “I already knew a little bit about some tracks and just had to learn how the car would react on them. At others, I’ve had to learn both the car and the track. I’ve tested at VIR, but this will be the first time driving the BMW on that track. I’ve been spending a lot of time on to be ready to go the moment we get there.”

As the season races toward the half-way mark with an intensified slate of races, earning maximum points in each race becomes ever more crucial in the championship hunt. Just 36 points out of the championship lead, Bell knows earning points through the quick succession of races (VIR, LRP, Watkins Glen) will be crucial. With a veteran-looking set of results, Bell also brings a surprising amount of perspective for a rookie racer.

“I already knew we had a strong team in Doran Racing and the BMW 128i, but the podium at Barber really boosted my confidence in what we can do as a team,” said Bell. “But I’m really just focusing on doing my job in the car — to qualify as well as I can, move up during my stint, and bring back a car that BJ can race with. Watching him fight at the finish [at Barber] made me happy not only about the track position I’d gained in the first part of the race, but also about how I had saved the car for him. The Doran guys have been working on the car non-stop, and I’m hoping that will pay off this weekend.”

Bell will participate in a promoter test-day on Thursday, May 12 followed by official practice and qualifying on Friday. The 2.5 hour race is set to begin at 11:15 AM Saturday, May 14. The event will air May 22 at 1:00 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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