Townsend Bell to Pilot No.2 RockStar Chevy in Michigan Former Panther Driver Returns as Sub for Injured Tomas Enge INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - For the second consecutive year Panther Racing has called upon driver Townsend Bell to fill the seat of...
Townsend Bell to Pilot No.2 RockStar Chevy in Michigan
Former Panther Driver Returns as Sub for Injured Tomas Enge
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - For the second consecutive year Panther Racing has called upon driver Townsend Bell to fill the seat of its No. 2 Chevrolet in the middle of the season. Bell, who recorded five Top 10 finishes in ten starts a year ago, will sub for the injured Tomas Enge at Michigan International Speedway this weekend in the No. 2 RockStar Energy Drink Chevrolet.
"We're thrilled that Townsend was available and willing to re-join Panther Racing this weekend," team co-owner John Barnes said. "We are still looking forward to when Tomas Enge gets healthy and can get back in the RockStar car, but Townsend did a great job for us last year and we know he'll be able to catch on quickly and have a great run this weekend at Michigan."
Bell -- who is from San Luis Obispo, Calif. -- is a former Indy Lights Champion, and his 2004 season with Panther was highlighted by a fifth-place finish at Nashville, in just his second start with the team. He was hired prior to the Kansas race last year to replace rookie Mark Taylor, and qualified seventh for the race with just over an hour of experience in an Indy Racing League car. Townsend qualified seventh at Michigan last season and finished eighth.
"It's great to be back," Bell said. "I've been following the races this season and I know all the Panther boys will make me feel right at home. I was sitting on the beach last year when Panther gave me a call, and I was pleasantly surprised that an opportunity came my way again this year. I hope (Tomas) Enge makes a full recovery, because he has learned what it takes to be competitive in the IRL and I know how badly he wants to get back in this car."
Townsend spent 2003 racing in the European F3000 series which led to tests with both BAR Honda and Jaguar teams. In his championship Indy Lights season in 2001, he won six of the 12 races in which he competed and added eight poles. Last season he recorded Top Ten finishes at Nashville, Milwaukee, Michigan, California and Texas Motor Speedway.
"I've kept in touch with Tommy Boy (Scheckter) during the season and I look forward to racing and laughing with him again," Townsend said. "I told him to pad down the high line for at MIS for me, he seems to like it up there. I'm hoping the two of us, and Buddy Lazier, can put on a show for all the people at Chevrolet and General Motors in their home race. Let's hope we're all partying like RockStars when the race is over."
Enge suffered small fractures to his T-12 and L-1 vertebra when a rear suspension failure caused his RockStar Chevy to spin backwards into the wall during the Nashville race two weeks ago. Enge will be re-evaluated next week and is expected to be cleared in time for the Aug. 14th race at Kentucky Speedway.
The IndyCar Series will travel to Michigan International Speedway this weekend for the Firestone Indy 400, which will be broadcast on ABC, at 3 p.m. (EDT). Additional coverage is available through the IMS Radio Network, and fans can check IndyCar.com for complete listing of network affiliates.