BUSCH: Fontana II: T.J. Bell debut race preview

T.J. Bell, Heathcliff Cat Litter Debut At California DCT Motorsports fields young Nevada driver SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Just over a week following his 25th birthday, T.J. Bell will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at one of the...

T.J. Bell, Heathcliff Cat Litter Debut At California
DCT Motorsports fields young Nevada driver

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Just over a week following his 25th birthday, T.J. Bell will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut at one of the fastest speedways in stock car racing.

"As much as I love driving race cars and as much as I love going fast, I can't think of a better place to start than California Speedway," said Bell, who will drive the #36 Heathcliff Cat Litter Chevrolet for DCT Motorsports. Bell will be in the car for the remainder of the season.

"How could I not be excited? This is something I've wanted to do my entire life, and now I'm running my first Busch Series race alongside a lot of guys I've looked up to ever since I knew what a race car was," Bell said. "The fact that (owners) John and Nancy McGill have given me this opportunity, and that Heathcliff Cat Litter has continued to support me means a lot. I want to do this because it's something I've always wanted to do, but I don't want to let them down either."

Bell, a native of Sparks, Nev., comes to the Busch Series from the ARCA and Craftsman Truck Series. The 2004 ARCA Rookie of the year while finishing third in the national standings, Bell has 32 ARCA starts with 11 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes. He also has 13 career starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

"I have driven California Speedway in a Truck before, but I know there is going to be a learning process too," Bell said. "Having a veteran team led by a champion like (crew chief) Ricky Pearson gives me an advantage a lot of rookies don't have. The changes with the qualifying rules this season also help -- I can spend more time learning the track and learning the cars, and less time worrying about making the field in qualifying.

"All of that will go a long way in helping us move as far forward as we can as quickly as we can," he added. "I know there is a learning process. That's part of what every driver goes through. I know I have to make sure I do my part and learn as quickly as I can."

Bell joins a team solidly in the top 30 of the NASCAR Busch Series standings. In its first full season as a race team, DCT Motorsports has placed itself among or ahead of many veteran established race teams, and has become more noticeable among racing veterans on a consistent basis.

"T.J. Bell is going to be great for us, and we're really hopeful for what he can do in this car," said Pearson, who has worked successfully with veteran and rookie drivers in the past.

"T.J. is a young man who really wants to race. He has a lot of desire and a lot of grit," Pearson continued. "He is a young aggressive driver and I don't mind that at all. That's not such a bad thing. We're hoping he can pick up and continue helping us to move forward."

John and Nancy McGill are the only full-time owners from Cleveland in the history of NASCAR's top three series. McGill owns and operates McGill Property Group, a major commercial real estate developer. DCT Motorsports was formed in 2003, running their first race in July of that year. Since then, the team has shown a consistent improvement.

-dct-

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Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers T.J. Bell