TORONTO (July 13, 2001) - Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) moved halfway to his third series pole in the last four races Friday in first round qualifying at the Molson Indy Toronto. Bell set a new track...
TORONTO (July 13, 2001) - Dayton Indy Lights Championship points leader Townsend Bell (DirecPC Lola) moved halfway to his third series pole in the last four races Friday in first round qualifying at the Molson Indy Toronto.
Bell set a new track record of 98.220 mph (64.325 seconds), breaking the 1999 record of 98.049 mph (64.437 seconds) set by Geoff Boss who, ironically, returned to the series for his first race of the season this weekend in Canada.
"This is my first time in Toronto," Bell said. "I was here once before for a day but this is the first time I've raced here. My first lap was Thursday on a scooter when I checked the track out. We're running Geoff Boss in place of Jon Fogarty and Geoff was pretty helpful yesterday in pointing out the track subtleties. It is a bit bumpier than some of the other street circuits we go to. All in all, it was a good qualifying session. We had a problem this morning with a fuel pick-up hose falling off inside the fuel cell. I ran my morning laps with a big loss of power. I need some time to learn the track but things have worked out well so far."
Bell was followed by his teammate Damien Faulkner (Dorricott Racing Lola) who clocked in at and average speed of 96.900 mph (65.201 seconds). Faulkner trails Bell in the championship by 11 points.
"This is a much better start for me on a street circuit than Long Beach," said Faulkner, who was taken out at the race start in the California race. "All I did at Long Beach was practice and qualify. Toronto is better than what I imagined a street circuit to be. There is a long straightaway to catch your breath but otherwise, you're always working. It's very enjoyable to drive. Unfortunately, I had to serve a couple of penalties this morning. One was a carry-over from Portland. I practically spent the first session in the pits today. Geoff Boss is with us and available with information. I walked the circuit on Wednesday and Thursday and I've also spoken with Geoff. It's been really helpful."
PacWest driver Dan Wheldon (Gemstar Communications/PacWest Lights Lola) was third fastest Friday at an average speed of 155.265 mph (96.480 seconds).
"The PacWest team one again gave me another good car," Wheldon said. "The track seemed to change so much from the first session to the second, and it actually hurt us. The track was not as good for us, as I developed a lot of understeer over the concrete portions. Since I raced here in Atlantics, I have a pretty good feel for the place, so I know we'll be okay on Saturday and Sunday."
Luis Diaz (Telmex Lola) and Kansas winner Kristian Kolby (Hype Energy/Conquest Racing Lola) rounded out the top five.
Boss was the last of the 11 drivers who qualified, running nearly three seconds off Bell's leading pace. The experienced Indy Lights driver is joining Bell and Faulkner at Dorricott Racing this weekend, substituting for the injured Jon Fogarty in the Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Lola. The race is the first for Boss, however, since Houston last October and the team and drivers plan to help Boss find more speed tomorrow. Final qualifying is Saturday.
Sunday's Dayton Indy Lights Championship race from Toronto will be shown in same day coverage on ESPN2 in a one-hour show airing at 10:00 p.m. PT Sunday night. East of the Mississippi, the ESPN2 air times are early Monday morning (late Sunday night) at 1 a.m. ET and 12 Midnight CT.