Sebring, Fla. (March 19, 1999)-- Townsend Bell fell victim to a blown motor in his #25 DirecPC Reynard Dodge at Sebring on the warm-up lap of the first Skip Barber Pro Dodge Series race this season. "The race was over before it started," laments the frustrated Bell, who as a result of the engine failure was out for the day, missing his first points opportunity of the season.
Ranking as high as fourth during practice, Bell qualified 11th for race day, lower than he had hoped, but nonetheless confident of a strong performance. "The car was well-setup, and I felt like I had a good shot to move up and get some points for the Championship," said Bell. However, it was not to be: "As soon as I pulled out for the warm-up lap, the oil pressure light was blinking and the pressure gauge showed no pressure, but I was hoping it was just an electronic glitch. On the first lap, however, I quickly discovered that the motor was not circulating oil, and it was only a matter of time before the motor went," relates Bell. And go it did, grenading internally as Bell crossed the start-finish line, forcing him to pull off in the Carousel.
The spec motors in the Barber Reynard Dodges are internally stock 3.2L Dodge V6's making 250 HP. Although drivers in the series are allowed to specify much of the car's setup like brake bias and suspension settings, the power plants are sealed units. With his hands effectively tied, Bell labeled the situation "extremely frustrating." Following the disappointment at Sebring, Bell went to the Grand Prix of Miami in Homestead to explore Indy Lights opportunities for 2000.
With a fresh motor, Bell will be testing in Arizona at Phoenix International Raceway's oval track April 13-15, in anticipation for the NASCAR Busch Grand National Series race May 20-22 at Nazareth Speedway in Nazareth, PA. With his previous experience in sprint kart racing, Nazareth will be Bell's first on an oval, and he is looking forward to the challenge.
Townsend Bell would like to thank Direct PC and PC World Magazine for their continued support in the 1999 season, and hopes to put the DirecPC Reynard Dodge on the podium soon. For more information on Townsend Bell Motorsports, please explore his website at http://www.townsendbell.com/.