LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 12, 2001) - Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecWay Lola) won a series-leading fourth race of the year and his second in a row at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday in Round 8 of the Dayton Indy Lights...
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 12, 2001) - Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecWay Lola) won a series-leading fourth race of the year and his second in a row at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Sunday in Round 8 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship. Bell led every lap from the pole and scored his third 22-point sweep of the season, with similar dominating performances having been turned in one race ago at Toronto and at the Milwaukee Mile in June. His first win of the season came on the streets of Long Beach in April where he started sixth.
The dominating performance earned Bell the $2,500 Simple Green Clean-Up Award for the third time this year. He has won $20,000 in Simple Green bonuses this season.
Bell, who set a new track record of 110.113 mph (73.809 seconds) on the 2.258-mile track in Friday's first round qualifying that held up through the final session on Saturday, was never seriously challenged in Sunday's race. He led by nearly 10 seconds in the late stages and set a new race record of 90.365 mph despite three full course yellow flag periods, including one that forced the race to end under caution.
Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Commuincations/PacWest Lights Lola) finished second while Bell's Dorricott Racing teammate Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) crossed the finish line in third. The top-three finish was the fourth-straight podium result for Faulkner.
Bell has now expanded on an already large Dayton Indy Lights Championship points lead. After heading into Mid-Ohio 19 points ahead of Faulkner, he now edges his teammate by 27 points, the biggest points lead of the season. Wheldon moved to third in the standings with 83 points.
Kristian Kolby (Hype Energy/Conquest Racing Lola) finished fourth while his teammate Matt Halliday (Mi-Jack/Conquest Racing Lola) rounded out the top five.
Prior to Sunday's races at Mid-Ohio, Patrick Racing announced that Bell will test one of the team's Toyota Reynard CART Champ Cars here tomorrow. <pre>
Light Look - Top Five Light Look - Top Five Points 1. Townsend Bell 1. Townsend Bell 126 2. Dan Wheldon 2. Damien Faulkner 99 3. Damien Faulkner 3. Dan Wheldon 83 4. Kristian Kolby 4. Kristian Kolby 80 5. Matt Halliday 5. Mario Dominguez 79 </pre>
Television - Late Tonight
Round 8 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship will be telecast late Sunday evening in a one-hour show on ESPN2 at 1:30 a.m. ET (early Monday morning, August 13th). The airtime is 12:30 a.m. CT and 10:30 p.m. PT. An encore telecast of the race will be shown on ESPN2 on Thursday, August 16th at 4:00 a.m. ET (3:00 a.m. CT/1:00 a.m. PT).
#30 Townsend Bell (DirecWay Lola) "It was just like last year in that we were able to pull out a pretty good gap lap after lap. When the yellow flags come out, you have to let the field stack back up. Then you pick up some rubber on the tires. That makes the first couple of laps on the re-start a bit dicey while the tires burn that stuff off. I was able to get back into a rhythm each time and that made it comfortable in pulling away. I'm testing tomorrow on this track with Patrick Racing. It's exciting. They have an excellent car for me. Jimmy Vasser qualified it fourth and ran strong most of the Champ Car race. Patrick Racing clearly has a decent set-up at Mid-Ohio. It will be my first time in a Champ car but I can't think of a better way to do it than with Patrick Racing."
#1 Dan Wheldon (Gemstar/PacWest Lights Lola) "Overall my car was pretty good today, although it was quite nervous in Turn 1. Townsend just had too much for me to be able to catch him today. I had a good restart towards the end of the race after a yellow flag, but I still couldn't gain much time. Turn 1 is where I was losing those precious seconds. Second place is good and the points will be really important for me down the road. I still have a shot at this thing, but I need to start winning now. I'm tired of being a bride's maid."
#31 Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) "It's quite difficult to pass somebody here when all the cars are practically identical. I had quite a margin over me in terms of experience at the start of the weekend. This is a difficult track but after you master it, it makes a major difference during a race. Perhaps I'd run better times if we raced here again. I didn't take any chances since there weren't any real opportunities to overtake. It's always difficult to claw back time. Each one of us improves as the weekend progresses. I'm not complacent but also not desperately happy with third place. However, it's good for points and good for Dorricott Racing. I'm sorry I couldn't run better but it is my fourth race in succession that I've finished on the podium. I'm happy about that."
Dayton Tire Awards: Rudy Junco receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Junco improved three positions to finish in seventh place from starting in the tenth position. Dan Wheldon receives two Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Dayton Rookie Award recipient as the highest finishing first-year driver. Townsend Bell receives a pair of Dayton Daytona racing tires as the fast qualifier.
Worldcom Fast Pace Award: Townsend Bell receives the $1,000 Worldcom Fast Pace Award for setting the fastest race lap on lap 23 at 108.828 mph (74.694 seconds).
Simple Green Clean-Up Award: Townsend Bell receives $2,500 for sweeping the race: winning from the pole, leading the most race laps and setting the fastest race lap. Bell has won the Simple Green Clean-up Award three times this year for a total of $20,000. His other bonus awards were earned at Milwaukee ($10,000) and Toronto ($7,500).
Nation's Cup: Ireland continues on top in the Nation's Cup with 129 points. The United States follows in second place with 125 points and Mexico in third place with 100 points.
Racing for Kids Award: Townsend Bell wins the Racing for Kids Award for $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to Columbus Children's Hospital in Ohio on behalf on Racing for Kids.
Round 9 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship will take place at the Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois on Sunday, August 26, 2001.