Early Lead Goes Up In Smoke for Bell Strong race opening at home event before disappointing early end Monterey, CA--After setting a new track record to take the pole position for Saturday's Verizon Festival of Speed in the No. 96...
Early Lead Goes Up In Smoke for Bell
Strong race opening at home event before disappointing early end
Monterey, CA--After setting a new track record to take the pole position for Saturday's Verizon Festival of Speed in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3, it was pretty understandable that Matt Bell would have high hopes ahead of his home race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
And those hopes were boosted further as the 2.5-hour Grand-AM KONI Sports Car Challenge race opened with Bell losing the lead, but not his composure, on the opening lap as he moved back to the front to lead comfortably once again in front of scores of friends and family.
But after driving an inch-prefect opening stint of the race and then turning the car over to co-driver Boris Said, Bell's hopes were dashed as the M3 lost power and was unable to make it to the finish.
"The car was just perfect to drive, and once I got back out front, all I was trying to do was save as much fuel as I possibly could," said Bell. "There was so much grip in that car that I was able to put it wherever I wanted to and get the lead back. I was just trying to save everything for Boris. So this is of course not at all how we wanted to end this race, but now we'll just look ahead to Lime Rock Park. It's the home track for Turner Motorsport so hopefully we can get back on the podium out there next weekend."
Even though he didn't win the race, Bell at least won another fan after putting in yet another remarkable performance through the race weekend.
"Matt Bell did an excellent job in this car, I just can't say enough about this kid," commented Boris Said. "He'd never run this car here and he went out and set a new track record and then led this race, so this is really disappointing. I'm not sure what happened with the car, but we had a small miss and then just lost power. I had a blast out there and these Turner Motorsport BMWs really are the ultimate driving machine, but unfortunately we just had a rare problem today."
The Turner Motorport effort wasn't all for naught, as the ST Class entry of Don Salama and Will Turner gave the new 3-series machine a debut race victory.