Tim Bell Impresses in Daytona Debut
Daytona Beach, FL (24 January 2011) - Driving the No. 14 BMW 128i for Doran Racing, Tim Bell showed well in his GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge debut on Friday at Daytona International Speedway.
The 2.5-hour race marked Bell's first-ever start in the GRAND-AM ranks. Moving up from ninth on the grid, Bell showed strong pace in the early stages of the race as he fought for a podium position. A classic road racing battle ensued as Bell made the most of his BMW's strong exit speed while fighting a car that had more speed on the straight aways.
A thrilling battle for lap after lap was finally disrupted when Bell was hit from behind and forced into the pits to change tires.
"It happened in turn five--he was really far back and I looked in my mirror before I turned into the apex to make sure he wasn't next to me. He wasn't there, so I turned into the apex and the next thing I know I'm getting punted," said Bell of the disappointing development. "It was too bad because it was a great duel, back and forth, but the contact was a little uncalled for."
The extra stop saw the race strategy hampered as Bell's co-driver BJ Zacharias brought the machine home in 16th place. While the final result didn't show the full speed that Bell put to use in his stint, the new rookie was none the less pleased with how his first weekend as a pro racer went.
"Overall, this was a very good weekend," said Bell. "There are things we could have done a little bit differently and I wish we had the car in qualifying that we had today in the race because we were fast and people could see that. But thats part of learning with this new BMW 128 and for me as a first-time driver, I know that this is just the first race of the season so I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and take it all in. I learned a lot about the GS cars and how they race against the ST cars out there. It can be a little frustrating, but that's just something to learn and take with me to Homestead. Hopefully we can hit the ground running in the next race--we were very fast at Homestead in testing and I'm already looking forward to it."