Bell Looks Ahead to Homestead Debut Championship co-leader will add new track to racing resume (11 March 2009) Homestead, FL--After making a tremendous Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge GS Class debut with a victory at Daytona to open up the 2009...
Bell Looks Ahead to Homestead Debut
Championship co-leader will add new track to racing resume
(11 March 2009) Homestead, FL--After making a tremendous Grand-Am Sports Car Challenge GS Class debut with a victory at Daytona to open up the 2009 season, Matt Bell will be back in racing action this weekend as the series reconvenes for round 2 of the 11-race championship at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Co-driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 with Bill Auberlen, Bell hopes to continue to make a good impression in the GS class this weekend. His Daytona run, which saw him qualify third and move up to second in the race before turning the car over to Auberlin, validated the choice Turner Motorsport made in signing him to drive the iconic M3 in 2009.
But Bell knows that he will have a new challenge on his hands this weekend, as he's never driven on the South Florida 2.25-mile road course at Homestead Miami Speedway. While that could be considered a daunting task to take on, Bell at least has plenty of experience getting up to speed quickly on new tracks, having learned a full season of new twists and turns throughout his rookie year in KONI competition in 2008.
He'll also have a great resource in co-driver in Auberlin, who has won at the track in Daytona Prototype competition.
"It's like going back to last year, having to learn the track for the first time before racing on it, but I'm really optimistic about the weekend," said Bell, who has been keeping his need for speed in check with some snowmobiling between races. "I've developed a good strategy I think for learning new tracks, and of course having Bill (Auberlin) helping me pick up some of the subtleties of the place will really help as well."
But unlike last season, Bell is no longer a rookie finding his way around as the newest first-time winner in KONI competition now packs experience and confidence in his helmet bag after starting the season like he was shot out of a cannon.
"That was a great experience," said Bell about the Daytona weekend. "We struggled a little in practice, but we just kept working at it and by the time we started the race, the Turner car was fantastic. Running up front like we did was a good boost for me as a driver, to know that I was doing all the right things to put the car in the front like that. And of course taking my first win, I'm still very excited about that! But that's behind us and the focus is entirely on this weekend, so I just want to get down there and get a good feel for the track before we go racing."
The weekend will open with practice on Thursday, March 12, with Friday setting the stage with additional practice sessions ahead of the afternoon qualifying session. The 2.5-hour GS event will take the green flag at 2:30 PM ET.