DREYER & REINBOLD'S RICE COMES FROM BACK TO FINISH IN TOP-TEN; BELL TAKEN
Buddy Rice finishes 10th; Townsend Bell finishes 23rd in Nikon Indy 300 in Australia
SURFERS PARADISE, Australia -- The odds were against Townsend Bell and Buddy Rice entering Sunday afternoon's Nikon Indy 300 on the streets of Surfers Paradise, starting 21st and 22nd, respectively, but both gave their best efforts to bring home strong results in the backyard of team sponsor Emu Australia.
Both found themselves moving up from their original starting positions, thanks to timely passing and carnage in front of them. However, that very carnage would quickly take out one of the Dreyer & Reinbold cars.
Bell, running in 20th, found an erratic Mario Moraes behind him, looking to force his way past. Rather than look for a clean opportunity, Moraes tagged Bell in his left-rear on the back-straight, sending him airborne into the right-side wall. The damage to the right-rear caused Bell to fall out of the race - just eight laps into the 60-lap event.
Rice managed to avoid the carnage, and with good timing of yellows, quick work in the pits, and attrition, he was able to move up into the lower teens by mid-race. Like they have done all year, Rice's crew gained him positions on every stop, and as the race progressed, with a bit more attrition, he was able to move into 10th-place right at the end.
The result is Rice's seventh top-ten this season and his first since scoring a tenth in Kentucky.
After the race, the EMU Australia crews packed all of their equipment into shipping crates for delivery onto cargo planes and the ensuing flights back to Indianapolis. With that, the racing season ends for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing for 2008.
Rice and Bell can be seen next, along with Milka Duno, at the IndyCar Series Awards Banquet in Las Vegas on the night of November 5th.
#15 EMU AUSTRALIA/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara Driver Buddy Rice
"Given where we started, to come away with a top-ten is a great result for the Dreyer & Reinbold team. The crew kept working on the car to make it better and better as the weekend went on. We were turning our fastest laps of the weekend in the EMU Australia Honda in the race when it counted the most. Even though it's an exhibition, I think this is a good result for the team to build on going into the off-season and building on for 2009."
#23 EMU AUSTRALIA/Dreyer & Reinbold Racing Honda Dallara Driver Townsend Bell
"We were just coming off the fast chicane on the back side, and (Mario Moraes) just kind of dive-bombed me. I saw smoke coming, and I left him room because I thought he was going to crash anyway, but he still collected me. That just launched me into the wall and bent the right-rear toe arm. It's a shame. We knew it would be a long race with a lot of trouble, and we just wanted to bring the car home in one piece. I wish we could have given the local folks a better run with our EMU Australia car, but there was nothing we could do."