Matt Bell Takes Top Ten In Daytona Prototype Qualifying Debut Busy day as he also nets top-ten in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race. Millville, NJ (17 July 2010) - Matt Bell continued to make a big impression on Saturday as his...
Matt Bell Takes Top Ten In Daytona Prototype Qualifying Debut
Busy day as he also nets top-ten in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race.
Millville, NJ (17 July 2010) - Matt Bell continued to make a big impression on Saturday as his second day ever of running in a Daytona Prototype saw him score eighth on the starting grid for Sunday's GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Bell was tapped by Doran Racing for duty in the Daytona Prototype in part due to the qualifying prowess he's shown in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition, and that faith was repaid as he shrugged off the limited amount of time and experience he has with the car to qualify on the fourth row.
He'll share the machine with Dion von Moltke in the 2.75-hour race and the qualifying effort will see him start the No. 77 Doran Racing McDonalds, South African Airways, PR Newswire Dallara-Ford ahead of Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.
"I'm pretty happy with qualifying today--I have so little time in a Daytona Prototype that I just don't know the subtleties of the car," said Bell. "And I also have almost no experience with how these Pirellis wear and when to get that magic lap out of them. But overall, I'm really happy with Doran Racing and just keep trying to learn as much as I can every lap. The car does what you want it to, and I'm really enjoying myself in this car, it's just incredible."
Following the qualifying session, the day was far from done for Bell, as he was back in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge action in the No. 6 Sunoco Fuels Camaro for Stevenson Motorsports, co-driving with Jeff Bucknum.
Bell, who scored a record setting pole position and led 10 laps at Mid-Ohio, was looking forward to keeping that momentum going and as teammate Bucknum moved up from tenth on the grid to be in podium position before turning the machine over to Bell, it looked to be another good day.
But a run to the champagne was spoiled when close contact with another GS machine sent Bell off-track and into the dirt, costing several positions as he fought back on to the track. Knowing he had a fast car, he was able to rally and fight back to take sixth at the finish to move the No. 6 entry to eighth in the team championship standings.
"He just tracked all the way out and didn't give me any option except the dirt so it was disappointing, particularly because we'd run so well today," said Bell, who shined as he was put on closing duty with Stevenson Motorsports for the first time of the season. "It was great to be out there racing at the end with those guys and I wish we hadn't lost the ground that we did. I had a very good car under me and Stevenson did a great job and called a perfect strategy for the race. It was so much fun. So it was disappointing to finish where we did, but I know our day will come with the Camaro."
Bell's big day will also come on Sunday, as it will be another big line on his racing resume when he makes his Daytona Prototype debut.