Watkins Glen International
Matt Bell Makes Strong Daytona Prototype Return
Watkins Glen 6 Hour Debut nets sixth place finish despite in-race setbacks
Following his first podium of the season in the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge on Friday, Matt Bell added to a highlight weekend of racing as he delivered another strong performance in his return to the cockpit of the No. 77 Doran Racing Daytona Prototype at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Bell, who raced for the Doran squad earlier this year at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, was welcomed back by the team and joined co-drivers Brian Frisselle and Henri Richard to finish sixth in the six-hour event.
The race began under hazardous rainy conditions as Frisselle opened from the fifth starting position. Frisselle set a steady pace and worked his way up to fourth before handing the car over to Bell who would strap in for his fourth career Daytona Prototype appearance.
The California racer returned the No. 77 machine to the track and ran in the seventh position while setting consistently quick lap times. Bell had a great battle with the No. 99 of former series champion Jon Fogarty and set up an expert pass on the veteran Rolex Series driver to move into sixth place.
Bell continued to impress as he moved to the point and marked his career-first lap in front of the Daytona Prototype field before relinquishing the car to Richard for the third stint. Bell not only had the pace to run up front, but the young driver also put his experience to good use, keeping calm and composed in the car despite a series of frustrating setbacks including a loss of all dashboard information and even more crucially, no team radio.
As Bell looks to advance his racing career, he utilized the six-hour event to gain a bit more experience and hopes that this strong performance will lead to another opportunity in a Daytona Prototype.
“I was pushing pretty hard and the car was doing pretty well,” said Bell. “It’s a big step for me to be able to do an entire stint in a car that’s been set up by someone else. I’ve experienced the whole range of downforce with these cars, and I feel like now I know what a Daytona Prototype is supposed to feel like. I’m learning more about how to drive it over a full stint. So it was good for me to keep learning and progressing, and I want to thank Doran Racing for inviting me back.”
Bell returns to on-track action with the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Challenge June 23-24 for Round 7 of the 10-race championship.
source: matt bell PR