SUNNYVALE, Calif. (Jan. 10, 2000) - Defending Indy Lights champion Dorricott Racing has announced that Barber Dodge Pro Series veteran driver Townsend Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., will officially drive for Dorricott Racing in the 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Bell will fill one of two openings created by the departures of 1999 PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Champion Oriol Servia and Philipp Peter, who finished third place in the Indy Lights championship. Indy Lights championship runner-up Casey Mears will return for his second season with Dorricott Racing.
"I had been speaking with Mr. Dorricott for the past year and a half in looking to lay a foundation for any future possibilities," said Bell. "We had an up and down year in Barber Dodge but we still finished third. When it came time to make the next step, Dorricott Racing remained the best direction I could go if only I could become involved with their program. I feel very fortunate to have been chosen. It's rare to step into one of the best seats of any series as a rookie. There are a handful of people out there that know how hard I've worked to get to this point. They'll be happy to know I've secured one of the top rides in racing."
Bell finished third place in the 12-race 1999 Barber Dodge Championship. His eight top-10 finishes included six showings in the top-five and highlighted by a third round victory at Lime Rock Park. Bell displayed tactical prowess on numerous road and street circuits including second place at Watkins Glen and third place at Laguna Seca. After winning the pole at Portland with a Barber Dodge Pro Series track record, he finished fourth. His first career oval race at Nazareth was equally impressive where he finished third place. His first career race at Road America netted a fifth place finish.
The 24 year-old Bell entered nine of 12 Barber Dodge Pro series events in 1998 and quickly showed a natural ability to be a front-runner. In scoring three top-10 finishes, he did so behind a third place at Road Atlanta, fifth place at Laguna Seca (race one), and eighth place in a return to Laguna Seca later than season.
As a successful competitor in regional and national karting competitions, Bell attended the Skip Barber Racing School in 1996. He finished fourth place in the 1997 Formula Dodge Western Championship that included two first-place and eight overall podium finishes in 10 rounds. He scored a fourth place finish in his first career Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Laguna Seca after qualifying seventh.
"He was quite impressive in our testing sessions and got up to speed as quickly as anyone we've ever tested," said team owner Bob Dorricott. "He not only showed he can race with the best in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, he also proved he can win and consistently run in the front of the field."
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization with its race shop located in Bakersfield, Calif., and its corporate office based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com.
The first round of the 12-race 2000 Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16, 2000.