Townsend Bell ready to go, if weather will cooperate …

Posted: May 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

Speedway Sightings …

By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Published in the Post-Tribune — May 18, 2010
Speedway, Indiana

With track time already at a premium, race teams took a blow to their plans for six hours of practice time on Monday. Rain blanketed the Speedway for much of the day with track activities finally cancelled at 2:30 pm.

The only positive for race teams to be found in today’s rainout is it helped preserve tires (they’re only allotted 33 sets for the month.) But if the drivers had their choice in the matter, they’d be on the track. Such was the case during my time talking with driver Townsend Bell

In a sit-down interview with the 2009 Indianapolis 500 fourth-place finisher, I had a chance to talk to one driver, who in old school fashion has positioned himself with his best opportunity to date to win the 500.

“We’re ahead of where we were last year and having championship caliber organizations like Sam Schmidt’s and Chip Ganassi’s to work with is a great opportunity. I feel confident that I could be ready to run the race if it were held tomorrow.”

Townsend is a throw-back to Indy 500 days past. A married father of two he is now content with being a one-off driver who now spends each year focused on a plan to run in the world’s biggest race, the Indianapolis 500. A former Indy Lights Champion, Bell has a long résumé that includes running in the FIA F3000, Champ Car and the IndyCar Series as well as a test driver in Formula 1 for BAR Honda and Jaguar.

Driving for quality teams, Townsend has already driven in the 500 three times. His record has included runs with Vision Racing, Dreyer & Reinbold and last year with KV Racing. He’s clearly proven that with good equipment he can run with the leaders.

This year Bell has aligned himself with a partnership between Chip Ganassi Racing and Sam Schmidt Motorsports. He has the benefit of the Schmidt’s Indy Lights Championship organization and Ganassi’s crack engineering staff.

In his shakedown run yesterday, Bell showed he’s already up to speed clocking in at 12th on the speed charts at 223.472 mph in the No. 99 Herbalife Ganassi/Schmidt Racing Honda/Dallara. Although a patient man by nature, Townsend is through with waiting. He’s ready to go now.

Unfortunately the extended forecast for the Indianapolis area isn’t promising, calling for a 40 percent chance of rain every day this week. Practice continues for the entire Indy 500 entry list at 12 noon Tuesday, weather permitting.

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