Townsend Bell Cracks the Top Five for Panther Racing NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It hasn't taken Townsend Bell very long to get the hang of the Indy Racing League. The IRL rookie, competing in his second career start, used skillful driving and great pit...
Townsend Bell Cracks the Top Five for Panther Racing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It hasn't taken Townsend Bell very long to get the hang of the Indy Racing League. The IRL rookie, competing in his second career start, used skillful driving and great pit work by his Menards/Johns Manville crew to catapult from his starting position of 12th to a fifth place finish. Townsend's finish in the Firestone Indy 200 matches the best finish of the season for Panther Racing, and it is best finish overall for the Menards/Johns Manville car. His effort matches teammate Tomas Scheckter's fifth place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"These guys needed and deserved this," Bell said. "When the chips are down, you need to be patient and not do anything drastic. It was pretty busy the last 50 laps, and we had a few close calls, but we just wanted to be patient and keep the Menards/Johns Manville car up front. The Panther Racing guys did a great job in the pits, I think I moved up the grid on every single stop tonight. Our Chevrolet has been this good all season, we've just run into some bad luck. We're looking forward to the Milwaukee race, and we really want to give all the people at Menards a great show."
Tomas Scheckter qualified tenth for the race at Nashville Superspeedway, where he and Bell posted the two best Chevrolet qualifying efforts. Tomas battled inside the Top Ten at the start of the race, moving as high as sixth. On Lap 109, Scheckter moved high to let traffic clear, and once the car got outside of the groove, it moved up into the wall. Tomas finished in 19th.
"What a shame, the Pennzoil Panther car was really good tonight," Scheckter said. "It wasn't great to start with, but the Panther guys made some adjustments, and it was really started to handle well. I moved over to let two fasters cards go by and it was just like driving on ice. That's the only problem with having a one-groove racetrack, if you get off line, you're just gone. We'll get everything together and be strong at Milwaukee."