SCC: Laguna Seca: Matt Bell qualifying notes

Bell Storms to Record-Setting Pole Third consecutive pole position in a row also breaks track record (15 May 2009) Monterey, CA--Matt Bell roared out of the pits and into the record books on Friday with his record-breaking run to pole position...

Bell Storms to Record-Setting Pole
Third consecutive pole position in a row also breaks track record

(15 May 2009) Monterey, CA--Matt Bell roared out of the pits and into the record books on Friday with his record-breaking run to pole position at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport H&R Springs/StopTech Brakes BMW M3 that he will co-drive with Boris Said in Saturday's Verizon Festival of Speed for round 4 of the Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge championship.

Bell's fast lap time of 1:36.277 established a new track record in GS class competition on the 2.238-mile circuit that the California youngster calls home, having taken his first laps at speed on the track in Skip Barber machinery before moving to BMW Club action and then making the step up to KONI GS Class competition this year. Bell also keeps his Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca familiarity fresh working as a driver coach, and that experience paid dividends as he dug deep to find the extra time to take the pole.

"I had basically no experience at Homestead and New Jersey, so to get the pole on both those tracks was great," said Bell. "But this is a pretty amazing feeling, to take my third pole in a row, and to do it here at Laguna is just awesome."

The run to the point looked to have a straightforward look as Bell popped to the top of the charts on his first flying lap, even though he had to pass slower traffic that lap. But the tight GS competition soon saw his time fall to fifth in the order before he fought back to take the pole, then go even faster to improve his time yet again to break the existing track record.

"The Turner guys let me know exactly where I was and how much time I needed to find to get back on the pole, and the car was just great to drive," said Bell, who also scored the pole at Homestead Miami Speedway and New Jersey Motorsports Park in rounds 2 and 3 of KONI competition as he also set a new mark with his three-peat of pole performances. "Working with Boris has been great, and hopefully we can convert this into a win and come out of the weekend with some strong points."

The day was a strong one for Turner Motorsport, as the previous GS Class record-holder, Don Salama, went on to secure the top spot in ST Class competition after also setting a new track record in the new Turner Motorsport ST class machine to make Turner two-for-two on pole positions, and for track records, on Friday.

Saturday's 2.5 hour race will start at 3:00 PM PT.

-credit: sgm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Skip Barber , Don Salama , Matthew Bell
Teams Turner Motorsport