Townsend Bell Rules Milwaukee ! Bell Wins His Second Indy Lights Race In 2001 WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 4, 2001) - - Townsend Bell came away from The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday, June 3, with more than just his fourth Indy Lights victory in 16...
Townsend Bell Rules Milwaukee !
Bell Wins His Second Indy Lights Race In 2001
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (June 4, 2001) - - Townsend Bell came away from The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday, June 3, with more than just his fourth Indy Lights victory in 16 career race starts. It was such a dominating single race performance and unparalleled show of record breaking driver ability in Indy Lights that the only consolation his competitors had was it was only round four of the 12-race 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship.
Bell, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., completed the 100-lap (103.20-mile) race in a track record time of 43:27.503 minutes. Bell also set a race record average speed of 142.481 mph, breaking Mike Groff's 1989 track race record of 124.883 mph.
After starting from the pole and leading every lap, Bell then managed to run the fastest lap of the race on lap 76 (0:24.222 = 153.381 mph) in the No. 30 DirecPC Lola and became the first driver in Indy Lights history to lap the entire field of a race.
"We worked hard to get our car properly set-up," said Bell. "My engineer, Gerald Tyler, created an awesome set-up. It made my job easy. I think we found some solutions when we tested here in mid-May. This win should be credited to the entire crew of the No. 30 car because the car ran flawlessly."
Meanwhile, teammates Damien Faulkner, of Moville, Ireland, and Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., each had a less than desirable race. Faulkner finished seventh place while Fogarty was victimized by another driver for a third consecutive race and finished 10th place.
Fogarty, who started on the outside pole, was completing the third pace lap exiting turn four of the 1.032-mile oval when Derek Higgins, of Ireland, accelerated into the rear of Fogarty's Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola. Both cars were seeking to warm their tires with Fogarty swerving left and right. Higgins, meanwhile, opted to speed forward. An inadvertent acceleration by Higgins plowed his car into the rear of Fogarty. Fogarty was able to continue to pit lane where his crew repaired the car during a long pit stop. Higgins, however, spun into the inside wall at pit entry and was unable to continue. Fogarty resumed the race on lap 20.
"I was using the track to warm my tires," said Fogarty. "I think Derek was doing the same thing but he was doing it longitudinally. He was accelerating and decelerating probably to warm his brakes and tires. He was accelerating as I began more swerves. The contact wasn't intentional on my part or his but it was a costly accident for both of us."
Fogarty was stung at Long Beach through no fault of his when he was rear-ended and sidelined by Danish driver Kristian Kolby in the first corner on the race start. Fogarty again suffered a race ending crash at Texas Motor Speedway in round three when Wheldon punted Fogarty against the wall when Fogarty was running in second place late in the race.
"It was unfortunate for Jon that he crashed on a pace lap," said Bell. "He certainly had a good car and one that could have also won the race."
Faulkner, who started seventh, improved two positions to fifth place for the race start and held fifth place until lap 24 when he was passed by Luis Diaz, of Mexico. Rudy Junco, of Mexico, caught and passed Faulkner on lap 47. The 2000 European Formula Palmer Audi champion was unchallenged for the remainder of the race.
"I basically had the same car set-up as my teammates," reflected Faulkner. "It's a steep learning curve from never driving a short oval other than in testing to driving in an Indy Lights race. It seems to be a slow process at the moment but I'll show improvement at the next short track oval."
Bell's victory was the third consecutive win for Dorricott Racing and 11th career victory in 207 starts.
Bell recaptured the lead for the Indy Lights championship in scoring 21 points, including one bonus point for leading the most laps, to improve his season total to 62 points. Faulkner is in sixth place with 34 points while Fogarty is ninth place with 22 points.
Bell's winner's purse included $10,000 from Simple Green Clean-Up for sweeping the race: winning from the pole, leading the most race laps and setting the fastest race lap. This "$2,500 roll-over" award had not been claimed in the year's first three races and Bell is the first to claim the award.
All totaled, Bell's Milwaukee earnings came to $37,500 - a new record for Dayton Indy Lights purse payouts. Awards included in Bell's winnings are the winner's purse ($25,000), the WorldCom Fast Pace Award ($1,000), the Simple Green Clean-up Award ($10,000), the Racing for Kids Driver Performance Award ($500), and the Dayton Indy Lights Pole Award ($1,000). Bell also received a pair of Dayton Daytona racing tires for being the fast qualifier.
Milwaukee was round two of the Bosch Platinum +4 Speedway Challenge Award that pays $10,000 to the driver accumulating the most points in 2001's six oval track events. Faulkner leads with 22 points but Bell closed to within one point with 21 points.
Faulkner's six championship points for seventh place kept Ireland in the lead for the Nation's Cup with 64 points. The United States is in second place with 61 points.
Race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com. Round five of the 12-race Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be at Portland International Raceway (Ore.) on Sunday, June 24.