Elkhart Lake, WI (July 9, 1999)- With round 5 of the Barber Dodge series leaving him 2nd in points, Townsend Bell looked forward to a strong performance in Cleveland in round 6. Though mechanical problems plagued Bell throughout the weekend, he...
Elkhart Lake, WI (July 9, 1999)- With round 5 of the Barber Dodge series leaving him 2nd in points, Townsend Bell looked forward to a strong performance in Cleveland in round 6. Though mechanical problems plagued Bell throughout the weekend, he nonetheless piloted his #25 DirecPC, PC World Magazine Reynard Dodge to 8th place, reserving a top spot in the points race.
Bell said that he enjoyed the 10-turn, 2.106 mile Burke Lakefront Airport Circuit, despite his greater experience on permanent tracks. An oil leak after two laps in the second qualifying session stopped short Bell's quest for a second straight pole. "It was really frustrating having to go off the first qualifying session because the second was much faster," reports Bell. Though Bell qualified 13th, he was fastest in the morning warm-up session, in the rain no less, and was the highlight of his weekend.
Looking forward to a charge through the pack at the start of the race, Townsend Bell was dismayed at the discovery of a blown left-rear shock in the opening laps. Most evident at the beginning of the race with a full tank of gas, Bell said the shock "made it tough to stabilize the back of the car over bumps," of which Cleveland is full. Despite the ill-handling car, Bell turned the 6th fastest race lap and finished 8th. Though round 6 placed Bell 4th in the season points race, he is only six points out of the lead, the closest he has been in the series. Bell says he is "happy to be pressuring the front runners in the points championship," and is eager to provide more strong results for DirecPC and PC World Magazine.
Round 7 takes the Barber Dodge series to Elkhart Lake and the 14 turn, 4.048 mile long Road America, July 9-11. Though Bell has never raced there, plenty of practice time is allotted for the weekend. Bell's desire to succeed there is so strong, he decided to do some track reconnaissance in his rental car, incurring disciplinary action (a stern warning from an ambulance driver). "I'm really looking forward to the track because I've always enjoyed traditional permanent road courses with elevation changes," says Bell.