TORONTO (July 15, 2001) - Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) took a major step toward his goal of winning the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Sunday on the streets of Toronto where he extended his series points lead with his third victory of the ...
TORONTO (July 15, 2001) - Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) took a major step toward his goal of winning the 2001 Dayton Indy Lights Championship Sunday on the streets of Toronto where he extended his series points lead with his third victory of the season. Bell also has 2001 wins at Long Beach and Milwaukee.
In a dominating performance, Bell earned the maximum 22 points for leading every race lap from the pole in what appeared to be an almost easy drive. Bell also set the fastest race lap that helped him claim the Simple Green Clean-Up Award for the second time this season. His winning purse of $35,000 included $7,500 in Simple Green bonus money, and his total season winnings in the new "rollover" award program are $17,500. He crossed the finish line 7.002 seconds ahead of Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/ Televisa/PacWest Lights Lola) while Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) finished third, his third consecutive podium appearance.
Bell won his third pole of the season with a new track record of 98.408 mph (64.202 seconds) in Saturday's final qualifying session and, after one waved off start for an improperly spaced field, drove away from the field when the green flag was shown on lap one. He opened up to a three second lead by lap 14 when the first of two full course caution flags was shown for Cory Witherill (WSA Healthcare/Motors Lola) who was uninjured when he hit the wall exiting Turn 1. Bell wasn't challenged on the restart and opened up to a four-second lead before Kristian Kolby (Hype Energy/Conquest Racing Lola) skidded into the tire barrier in Turn 8 on lap 25. Kolby was uninjured but his day was done and the race went yellow for the second time. Bell quickly built another strong lead after the lap 28 restart and his margin of victory of more than seven seconds was the biggest lead of the day.
Behind Bell, some of the best racing took place within the top five. Faulkner passed Derek Higgins (Mexpro/StarlightDiamonds.com/PrecioBase.com Lola) for fourth in Turn 1 after the first race restart on lap 16. Faulkner then moved to third when mechanical problems knocked Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) off the pace. Faulkner then tried to get by Dominguez in the race's closing laps, but the PacWest driver held on for his second runner-up finish of the year.
Bell's winning average speed 88.246 mph was a new race record and his three wins and three poles lead the series. He is also 19 points ahead in the championship over Faulkner, 104 - 85, the biggest points lead of the season.
Matt Halliday (M-Jack/Conquest Racing Lola) turned in another strong performance and finished fourth for the third straight race. Luis Diaz (Telmex Lola) finished fifth while returning driver Geoff Boss (Dorricott Racing Lola), Wheldon and Rolando Quintanilla (Telmex Lola) were the other lead lap finishers. Higgins went down the Turn 3 escape road on the same lap Faulkner passed him for fourth place and finished ninth, one lap down.
Driver Quotes #30 Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) "I can't say enough about my crew and engineer, Gerald Tyler. They always provide me all the tools I need to compete. I have so much confidence when I get into the car on race day because my crew takes care of the details. This is such an interesting track. It keeps your attention and since it was my first time in Toronto to race, I had to have a fast learning curve.
"I was surprised how slippery the first re-start was. It took about two laps to get most of the 'pick up' off the tires. The car wouldn't slow down. Then I discovered after the first lap that it took awhile to get the rubber pick up off the tires. That experience helped me on the second restart."
#17 Mario Dominguez (del Valle/Corona/Televisa/PacWest Lights Lola) "The way my car handled, second place is a great finish. I started to experience a bad oversteer after about fifteen laps, so I just tried to hang on the rest of the way. It was a good finish, but Townsend pulled away so far I couldn't really put any pressure on him. I'm very happy with a podium finish, and especially happy because 50,000 pesos will go to Mexican children through a program my sponsor, del Valle, set up."
#31 Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) "The pass on Derek Higgins was the pass of my life, may be the best one today. Mario was tougher to deal around. One would think the straight by Turn 3 would be a good passing area but I couldn't catch him. Mario was very good out of Turn 1 so it was difficult to get a run. He covered the inside well. He may have given me room around the outside into Turn 3 but it's like a funnel there. I may not have made it out and I didn't want that high of a risk."
Dayton Tire Awards: Matt Halliday receives four Dayton Daytona racing tires as the Move to the Front award recipient. Halliday improved five positions to finish in fourth place from starting in the ninth position. Damien Faulkner 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 at 97.015 mph (65.124 seconds).
Simple Green Clean-up Award: Townsend Bell receives $7,500 for sweeping the race: winning from the pole, leading the most race laps and setting the fastest race lap.
Nation's Cup: Ireland continues on top in the Nation's Cup with 115 points. The United States follows in second place with 103 points and Mexico in third place with 92 points.
Racing for Kids Award: Townsend Bell wins the Racing for Kids Award for $500. An additional $1,500 will be presented to Sick Children's Hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on behalf on Racing for Kids.
Television - Tonight!
The Toronto Dayton Indy Lights Championship race will be telecast in same-day coverage on ESPN2 in a one-hour show at 10 p.m. PT. East of the Mississippi, the ESPN2 air times are early Monday morning (late Sunday night) at 1 a.m. ET and 12 Midnight CT. An encore telecast of the race will be shown on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 21st at 3:30 a.m. ET (2:30 a.m. CT/12:30 a.m. PT).
Next Event Round 8 of the Dayton Indy Lights Championship will take place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio on Sunday, August 12, 2001.