BUSCH: Richmond II: TJ Bell preview

Debut done, rookie Bell heads to Richmond Richmond's Cleveland Cement Construction sponsors Cleveland-based DCT Motorsports team SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Between the Richmond-area ties and raceway experience with DCT Motorsports, T.J. Bell...

Debut done, rookie Bell heads to Richmond

Richmond's Cleveland Cement Construction sponsors Cleveland-based DCT Motorsports team

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Between the Richmond-area ties and raceway experience with DCT Motorsports, T.J. Bell feels the fact he has never been to Richmond (Va.) International Raceway won't be a hindrance in his second career NASCAR Busch Series start.

"One advantage a race car driver can have over, say, a football player is the fact I can at least get a feel of Richmond through video games," said Bell, the 25-year-old driver who will wheel the #36 Cleveland Cement Construction Chevrolet for DCT Motorsports Friday night. "It's not the same as actually wrestling one of these Busch cars around a race track but it's a heck of a lot closer than 'being' Tom Brady."

Cleveland Cement Construction, which now has a presence in Richmond, Va., gives the team local sponsorship ties. Crew chief Ricky Pearson, one of the top mechanical minds in the NASCAR garages, lends some experience regarding the D-shaped speedway to the young driver.

"We have good equipment and some good minds putting these cars together. The key is for me to learn and adapt as quickly as I can," Bell said. "The series I have run in the past, that is what we all had to do, so I know the routine. There were a lot of one-day shows and a lot of new race tracks.

"All you can do is take the information you gather and go from there. Fortunately, I have Ricky Pearson and the crew, who has a lot of Richmond experience, to help me gather that information," Bell added.

The young driver ran solidly in his debut this past week at California Speedway, running in the lead lap and putting lap after lap under his belt before going behind the wall with engine failure.

"We wanted to run the whole race. Every lap is important," Bell said. "Still, we got 99 laps down and felt pretty decent about what we were able to do. We wanted to finish better and we wanted to run even stronger but that will come as we grow as a team. For a first time out, our time on the race track was ok."

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.

He 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.

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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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers T.J. Bell