By David Reininger - Motorsport.com Toronto, Ont. (July 15, 2001) - Townsend Bell made a clean sweep of the Dayton Indy Lights Series race at Exhibition Place in Toronto, taking the pole position, setting fastest race lap and leading all 43...
By David Reininger - Motorsport.com
Toronto, Ont. (July 15, 2001) - Townsend Bell made a clean sweep of the Dayton Indy Lights Series race at Exhibition Place in Toronto, taking the pole position, setting fastest race lap and leading all 43 laps on the way to victory. Townsend earned a total of $35,000 for the win and leading the most laps.
With his third victory this season, Bell now leads the championship standings by 19 points over his teammate Damien Faulkner.
Mario Dominguez, who started alongside Bell on the front row, finished second seven seconds behind Bell.
On the first lap, the field funneled through turn three at the end of Lakeshore Drive, with Dan Wheldon falling into third place from his third place starting position. Derek Higgins managed to squeeze ahead of fourth place starter Damien Faulkner to take fourth.
The field sorted out at the end of the first lap with each car holding their position while Bell pulled away by two tenths of a second each lap.
Caution closed the field on lap 14 when Cory Witherhill tagged the wall exiting turn one.
On the restart four laps later, Faulkner faked a move to the outside, then dove to the inside of Higgins executing the most exciting pass of the race to take third place. Higgins, whose car was not handling well, was forced to the outside at the next turn, and subsequently missed the turn, leaving the car facing the tire barrier.
"It was a very difficult car to drive," said Higgins. "We never really had a good setup all weekend, and that's what happens. We probably should have finished fourth or fifth, but I made a mistake. I got stuck on the outside and I made a mistake."
Higgins, unable to use reverse, waited a full lap for corner workers to pull his car back from the barrier before continuing.
Higgins was credited with ninth place.
Dan Wheldon slipped from third place late in the race with engine problems, eventually finishing seventh. "Something happened to my car and I lost power some power," Wheldon said. "I'm pretty sure we had a misfire because the engine was making popping noises at high speeds."
Faulkner pressured Dominguez late in the race but was unable to get by, finishing half a second behind Dominguez in third place.
"Mario was quick," said Faulkner. "He was going to be difficult to pass. There was nothing I could do. He protected his line, as he should do. Perhaps, if the race was a few laps longer, I could have passed him.
"Mario was good at the places where there is opportunity to pass, so that was making life very difficult."
Matt Halliday was fourth followed by Luis Dias, Geoff Boss and Dan Wheldon in seventh.