Bright remains strong in Thursday PM Practice

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 19, 2000) - - Townsend Bell saved his best for last in Thursday's practice sessions when he claimed afternoon session honors at 0:38.513 = 186.950 mph in the DirecPC Indy Lights Lola.. Jason Bright, of Gold Coast,...

BROOKLYN, Mich. (July 19, 2000) - - Townsend Bell saved his best for last in Thursday's practice sessions when he claimed afternoon session honors at 0:38.513 = 186.950 mph in the DirecPC Indy Lights Lola.. Jason Bright, of Gold Coast, Australia, was third quickest at 0:38.593 = 186.562 mph. Casey Mears, of Bakersfield, Calif., was sixth at 0:38.688 = 186.104 mph. The one hour afternoon practice started on time at 3:15 p.m. (ET). Ten minutes into the session found Bright and Mears tied for fastest lap at 0:38.857 = 185.295 mph. Partly cloudy skies began to descend around Michigan Speedway that cooled the track as the session progressed. Light winds also shifted directions producing a swirling down the front straight-away from blowing through the grandstands. Bright and Mears remained fastest after 20 minutes with no change in their time. Bell, however, began to assert himself and moved to third fastest at 0:39.137 = 183.969 mph. Debris on the track brought out a yellow flag for over five minutes soon after Bell improved to third. "It was hard to tell how quick I was because clear laps were hard to come by," said Mears. "All the cars combined created more air movement than one might have thought. Townsend and Jason were also picking up on how to run Michigan fast. They learned how to use the track." Bright found enough clear track to run the next fastest lap after 40 minutes at 0:38.848 = 185.338 mph. Mears was second at 0:38.857 = 185.295 mph. Three minutes later, Bell jumped ahead on his 39th completed practice lap at 0:38.513 = 186.950 mph. "Today was a fast learning curve," said Bright. "Technique was more important since the speeds and forces were more dynamic. I tried to follow Casey and learn what I could or couldn't do in a draft. I had a chance to see what I might be able to do when I'm running alone like in single car qualifying. The whole approach was drastically different than what we would do on a short oval like Milwaukee. Milwaukee was about getting as much grip as possible where Michigan is about trying to get the car to move as resistance free as can be." The checkered flag waved at 4:15 p.m. (ET) bringing an end to practice and hoisting Bell to the front of the line at 0:38.513 = 186.950 mph. "The car was razor's edge the entire day," said Bell. "I ran flat nearly the entire third session so my confidence increased on running the superspeedway. Maybe we'll roll the dice in qualifying and run flat laps again. This is a great style of racing but so much depends on the car. If the car is properly set, it's more about steering than anything else. I also started to get a feel of how the car would respond in traffic."

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Indy Lights
Drivers Casey Mears , Townsend Bell