SCC: Mid-Ohio: Matt Bell race notes

Brakes Break Bell's Podium Hopes at Mid-Ohio Lexington, OH (20 June 2009) After some promising race outings were thwarted by different kinds of bad racing luck, Matt Bell began to develop some superstitions surrounding his pole-winning ...

Brakes Break Bell's Podium Hopes at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH (20 June 2009) After some promising race outings were thwarted by different kinds of bad racing luck, Matt Bell began to develop some superstitions surrounding his pole-winning performances.

But after making a run to the podium following his track-record pole position at Watkins Glen, he was hoping that his luck had changed. Unfortunately, he might still have reason to wonder about his luck after another strong run at the front was slowed with a small mechanical setback in the EMCO Gears Classic on Saturday afternoon for round 7 of the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge season.

After breaking the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course track record on his way to a remarkable 5th pole of the season with the Turner Motorsport No. 96 H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3, Bell slotted into second at the start as he fought for the lead with the championship-leading Mustang. After a spirited battle in the opening laps, Bell moved into fuel and car conservation mode, which was rewarded as he pit some two laps later than the competition.

As co-driver Auberlen took over the controls and returned to the track in second, he was looking to make up ground as the two looked to return to victory circle. But his charge was hampered by brake issues and although he was able to continue to the finish, the problem and the extra pit stop meant the two had to accept a fifth place finish as the KONI Challenge heads into the second half of the 2009 season.

"I was on the same tires we'd practiced and qualified on, so I didn't have nearly the grip that he (Mustang) did, and those cars are so fast in a straight line that there was no way I could get by," said Bell, who despite the conditions was described by the track PA announcer as being "magic" under braking.

"I'm happy that Bill was able to go back out there and at least bring the car home in one piece in fifth, because every point is important. I don't know if we'd have had anything for the Mustangs or not today, but it's disappointing that we didn't get to take the fight to them at the end of the day. But that's racing and we'll take these points and look to do better at Barber."

-credit: sgm

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