Matt Bell Stays Fast and Busy Fast During Roar Before the 24
(Daytona Beach, Fla.) 9 January 2011 - Matt Bell had a busy weekend down in Daytona Beach as he kicked off the 2011 racing season at the "Roar Before the 24" test, putting the No. 9 Camaro GS.R. through its paces in preparation for the season-opening GRAND-AM 200 at Daytona International Speedway on January 28. For 2011, Bell has teamed up with Stevenson Motorsports for the second consecutive year and is joined by John Edwards as the duo look to make a strong run in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.
Bell was bouncing back and forth between paddocks as he was also be back in Daytona Prototype action for Doran Racing as he prepares for a second run in the Rolex 24 At Daytona at the end of the month.
Looking to build on a developmental season in 2010, the Bell-Edwards duo quickly climbed to the top of the speed charts during the three-day test - running second quick with a time of 1:59.633 seconds during the weekend's first practice session. The second and third practice sessions saw the team run in the top-10 to finish sixth and ninth quick respectively as the team continued to take advantage of the added focus established with a single-car Stevenson Motorsports effort.
"I'm excited to be back with Stevenson Motorsports and this has been a great way to start off the year," says Bell. "The weather was ideal and we were quick straight away. Hopefully we can carry that momentum into the race weekend. The team has made so much progress with this car and it was clear at Homestead in the test, and even more so now, to come back to Daytona and experience the difference from year year ago. "
The difference from a year ago was also clear for Bell on the Rolex side of the equation, as he returns to the big event with the experience of having run the race last year, with two additional runs in Daytona Prototype competition under his belt from 2010 as he put the No. 77 Ford Dallara through its paces along with teammates Brian Frisselle, Henri Richard, and Ross Kaiser. With a full driving roster in the DP, Bell had three other drivers to share the car with, but he made the ones that he got count, closing the final session of the test with his fastest laps of the weekend.
"I am thrilled to compete in the Rolex 24 with Doran Racing," says Bell. "I'm working on getting used to the car on this low-downforce track. It takes some adjusting, but my confidence keeps growing and we're just looking to have a good car underneath us to go the distance with a quick, consistent pace. We are going to work on some small details--the seat fitting and some other small details that can be important in such a long race, so this was a great way to find out what we need to be working on and I just can't wait to get back here at the end of the month."
The 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car season will kick off at Daytona International Speedway on January 28.