BELL RINGS UP FIRST VICTORY AT DODGE DEALERS GRAND PRIX LAKEVILLE, Conn. - Townsend Bell learned the value of patience in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Lime Rock Park Monday morning. It paid off to the tune of his first victory at the...
BELL RINGS UP FIRST VICTORY AT DODGE DEALERS GRAND PRIX
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - Townsend Bell learned the value of patience in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at Lime Rock Park Monday morning. It paid off to the tune of his first victory at the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix on the 1.54-mile road circuit.
Bell, of Costa Mesa, Calif., took advantage of a cut tire sustained by race leader Rocky Moran Jr. on the white flag lap to power his white DirecPC/PC World Reynard through to take the checkered flag. Memo Rojas Jr. of Mexico City, Mexico posted a career-best second place finish, while Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. had also had a career-best with the third spot.
"It feels pretty darn good. I was sitting in the hotel last night and wasn't too happy with my (fourth-place) qualifying," Bell said. "I figured in a best-case scenario, two cars take each other out and one guy will have a mechanical. So whatever I did, whatever I ate, we'll be repeating that ritual for quite some time. They'll be a party when I get back to Southern California Tuesday night."
Moran, who won his third straight pole position, seemed to have the race in firm control from the start. A wheel-to-wheel crash in traffic launched the car of Lime Rock native R.B. Stiewing airbourne and into the tire barrier on the inside of the downhill turn and brought out the first caution of the day on lap 3.
On the restart, the second-place car of defending series champion Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn. was tagged from behind by the Reynard of third-place Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil in the track's signature double-apex "Big Bend" hairpin, which ended Rossoni's race instantly. Simmons managed to nurse out four more laps with neither a back wing nor engine cover before a punctured transmission cover forced him to retire. Moran began to pull away from the field, putting a 10-12 car length lead on second-place Bell. But a slow-puncture caused by debris from one of the accidents became a problem as the pressure dropped in his wounded left rear tire. Bell could not believe his fortune as he curled by after a half-hearted block attempt by Moran on the back of the track in the final lap.
Rojas survived a bump-and-grind with another home-track driver, Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass., in the closing laps to finish behind Bell. "If I were in his place I would have stayed with fourth place because he had not finished a race yet," Rojas said. "I really don't know what he was thinking. It was an opportunistic (maneuver), but it didn't work out. It could have created a bad thing for me, but I'm here."
Boss of Narragansett, R.I., the youngest of Boss racing family which includes PPG-Daton Indy Lights stars Andy and Geoff, was also pleased with a strong finish in front of a large contingent from his sponsor, IT Infosystems, on his home track.
"I just kind of bided my time and closed the gap and (Snyder) ended up trying to get by Rojas in a bad place," Boss said. "They touched and Snyder went wide and I ducked underneath him."
Moran maintained his lead in the championship points by nursing the car across the line for a fourth-place finish, while Snyder recovered from his off-track excursion to finish fifth. He also posted the quickest race lap with a 54.972/100.851 mph on lap 21.
"I ran over debris on the yellow and the it was good for seven or eight laps, then the car started snapping loose," Moran said. "Then I saw my (left) rear tire coming off the ground in the turns. It was a good weekend to come out with fourth."
Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa moved up from an eighth-place start to finish sixth, while Sepp Koster of the Netherlands drove a masterful race to come home seventh after a malfunction in his brake master cylinder left both his pedals and feet covered with oil.
Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C., Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. and John McCaig of Victoria, BC. filled the eighth, ninth and 10th spots, respectively.
Moran extended his lead in the season championship point standings to 55-34 over Bell and Boss after Round 3 of the 12-race Barber Dodge Pro Series Championship. The next race is scheduled for June 19 at Portland International Raceway with the CART FedEx Championship Series.
LAKEVILLE, Conn. - Results Sunday from the 40-minute timed Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the Dodge Dealers Grand Prix on the 1.54-mile Lime Rock Park road circuit with finishing position, starting position, driver, hometown or country, laps, reason out (if any), and prize money. All cars are identical Reynard Dodge V6, open-wheel, single-seat race cars on Michelin racing tires.
1 (4) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif., 100.222 mph, 38 laps, $12000 2 (6) Memo Rojas, Jr./Mexico City, Mexico, 38, $8000 3 (7) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I., 38, $6000 4 (1) Rocky Moran, Jr./Coto de Caza, Calif., 38, $4000 5 (5) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass., 38, $2500 6 (8) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa, 38, $2000 7 (9) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands, 38, $1800 8 (12) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada, 38, $1700 9 (11) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif., 38, $1600 10 (10) John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Canada, 38, $1500 11 (16) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa., 38, $1400 12 (13) Eric Tresslar/Denver, Colo., 38, $1300 13 (17) Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill., 38, $1200 14 (18) Juan Jose Font/Caracas,Venezuela, 38, $1100 15 (20) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif., 38, $1000 16 (23) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill., 37, $1000 17 (14) Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland, 37, $500 18 (21) Vanderlan Junior/Goiania, Brazil, 33, $500 19 (15) Andre Grillo/Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, 31, $500 20 (2) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn., 13, $500, contact 21 (36) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil, 9, $500, contact 22 (22) Tim Bergmeister/Bergheim,Germany, 2, $500, contact 23 (19) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn., 2, $500 DNS(24) Victor Gonzalez, Jr./Hatorey, PR
LENGTH OF RACE: 38 Laps of 1.54 Mile Circuit for 58.520 miles TIME OF RACE: 40 Minutes, 13.000 seconds AVERAGE SPEED: 87.307 MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0 Minutes 5.758 Seconds LAP LEADERS: Moran Lap 1 through 37, Bell Lap 38 FASTEST RACE LAP: Rocky Moran, Jr. 00:54.972 (100.851 mph) Lap 21 FASTEST QUALIFIER: Rocky Moran, Jr. 00:54.920 (100.947 mph) PROGRESSIVE CUSTOM WHEELS MOST PROGRESSIVE DRIVER: Brent Sherman, From 23rd to 16th ($500) TOTAL PAYOUT: $51,600
Points: 1) Moran, 55 2) Bell, 34 3) Boss, 34 4) Rojas, 31 5) Koster, 30 6) Simmons, 27 7) Rossoni, 25 8) Valiante, 23 7) Font, 17 8) Menninga, 17 9) Plumb, 14 10) Snyder, 11