SCC: Mid-Ohio: Matt Bell preview

Bell Ready for Mid-Ohio 5th in KONI Challenge championship as season kicks into high gear Lexington, OH (18 June 2009) -- Looking at Matt Bell's Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge race results, it's as if the California youngster has...

Bell Ready for Mid-Ohio
5th in KONI Challenge championship as season kicks into high gear

Lexington, OH (18 June 2009) -- Looking at Matt Bell's Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge race results, it's as if the California youngster has experienced two different seasons.

In six race starts, he has experienced both the highs of a victory and three podium finishes on some legendary race tracks (1st/Daytona, 2nd/Watkins Glen International, 3rd/ Lime Rock Park), and the lows of watching as contact from competitors or mechanical complications spelled three race finishes that were far less (24th, 10th, and 15th) satisfying.

But as Bell looks ahead to the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course this Saturday, he's hoping to get into a championship rhythm as he rides the wave of two consecutive podium finishes with co-driver Bill Auberlen in the Turner Motorsport No. 96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3.

Bell is riding another wave with his strong qualifying performances, having won four pole positions so far this season. After scoring third on the grid in his first attempt at GS Class qualifying in Daytona, Bell has refused to take anything less than a front-row starting position, including nabbing a record run of three consecutive pole positions. And while Bell looks to once again be strong in qualifying, he's also hoping for some continued good finishes to keep climbing in the championship standings.

"I'm not superstitious, but it seemed for a while that every time I qualified on pole, we'd have something go wrong in the race," said Bell. "So it was great to shake that off and accomplish the strong finishes at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. I know that with some of the tough finishes we had earlier in the season, that put us pretty far behind in the championship contest. I plan to just keep that out of my mind, run the best race possible and see where we end up at the checkered flag. You never know what is going to happen in this sport, and there is still a lot of racing yet to go."

Matt Bell looks to exploit his previous experience on the track, having raced on the 2.258-mile circuit last season in the ST ranks. The race weekend will kick off with a promoter test day on Thursday, with practice on Friday and a Saturday morning qualifying session. Saturday's 2.5-hour race is slated for a 1:45 PM green flag, and will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by SPEED on June 28 at 12:30 PM.

-credit: sgm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bill Auberlen , Matt Bell
Teams Turner Motorsport