Bell, of Los Angeles, the GTS points leader going into this race, was running fourth in class and saving his tires for a run to the finish when his No. 50 eBay Motors Ford Mustang Boss 302S crashed on the frontstretch of the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course with 19 laps complete.
There was a restart on lap 19 following a full-course caution and slower Touring Cars were mixed in with the GTS cars. Bell’s restart went fine but while he was dodging some of the Touring Cars on that lap and dealing with rubber pick-up on his tires he got off-line coming out of Turn 11 and hit the inner wall on the frontstretch near the far end of the pit area head-on. Tristan Herbert, who had won the pole in the TC class, had nowhere to go and he T-boned Bell’s Mustang too.
“It was the hardest hit in years for me,” Bell said later.
Bell was credited with a 13th place finish in the final rundown with his entry, which is also sponsored by Kenny Brown Performance.
Moxlow, of Grosse Ile, Mich., dropped out of the race due to contact too. His accident occurred in Turn 6 working lap 12. His No. 48 Trenton Forging Ford Mustang Boss 302S, which is also sponsored by Bard’s Tale Beer Co. and Detroit Motion Co., placed 16th in the official order of finish.
Bell qualified sixth in class in a session which saw Peter Cunningham break team owner Paul Brown’s track record. Bell had a fabulous standing start and blasted past Michael Galati and Andy Lee to move from sixth to fourth by the end of the first lap. He stayed in that position, biding his time between Nick Esayian and Galati, and he was still in fourth place when a yellow was displayed with 12 laps down after Moxlow ran into problems and James Sofronos stopped on the course.
Behind him Aaron Povoledo and Andy Lee had moved ahead of Galati by that point, and Bell was still focused on catching the third-place driver, Esayian, in his efforts to secure his third victory and fourth podium finish of the season. The restart with 19 laps down went well but then Bell’s accident occurred coming out of the last turn and onto the frontstretch as he was attempting to complete lap 20, and his day was done.
Moxlow qualified 15th in class with a lap in 1:37.800 (82.380 miles per hour). He had trouble at the start but he was already back up to 16th in class by the end of lap two. He passed both Don Istook’s Audi and Greg Shaffer’s Nissan working lap five to move into 14th place. He got around Ric Bushey’s Nissan working lap nine and Harry Curtin’s Camaro working lap 11 to move into 12th. He had just set his fastest lap of the race with a 1:37.359 (82.754 mph) on lap 11 when his accident occurred working lap 12.
“Overall we had a fairly stressful weekend,” Moxlow said. “With only minimal seat time and no practice starts going into the race we ran into problems. I had never launched the car for one of our standing starts and stalled it. Starting even behind all of the Touring Cars made for an eventful first half of the race. We worked back up into the GTS ranks and started picking away at them. I pushed as hard as possible and eventually dropped a wheel in the fast kink Turn 6, which was a mistake I wouldn't recover from. We ended in the tires but are looking forward to some testing and a good showing at the Detroit Grand Prix.”
Cunningham won the class over Jack Baldwin, Povoledo, Esayian and Lee.
Bell’s fastest lap was lap four when he was timed in 1:34.726 (85.054 mph), which was faster than the existing track record.
He is now third in the GTS point standings, behind Cunningham and Baldwin.
The next race is scheduled for June 1-3 during the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix’s IZOD IndyCar series weekend. There are still plenty of opportunities for good finishes, as events at Mosport, Mid-Ohio and Infineon Raceway follow Detroit.
“The weekend didn't go exactly as planned and sometimes it can feel like a lot of hard work can go to waste, but in the end we race because we love it and it is worth it,” said team owner Paul Brown. “The team is once again grateful to all of our partners, friends and supporters: eBay Motors, Kenny Brown Performance, Lucas Oil, Ford Racing, K&N Filters, Eibach, Baer Brakes, Hawk Performance, One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning, G-Stream, ERP/JRZ, Tremec Transmission, Bassani Xhaust and Wellendorf Performance. The entire Tiger Racing team promises to get the cars back together, ready to attack the competition at the next World Challenge race in Detroit!”
Friday’s race was streamed live on-line at world-challengeTV.com and that site will have coverage in its archives.
The Mazda Raceway event as well as the recent race in Utah will also be shown on the NBC Sports Network from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Eastern time on Sunday, May 27.
More information can be found on Tiger Racing and Kenny Brown Performance's Facebook pages, and at Justin Bell’s website at JustinBell.com. The series tweets updates @WCRacing and posts news on world-challenge.com.
About eBay Motors: eBay Motors, a part of eBay Inc., is the Internet’s largest marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive. The site offers everyday cars for everyday drivers as well as collector cars, motorcycles, auto parts and accessories. eBay Motors is consistently ranked the No. 1 automotive site on the Web by Nielsen/NetRatings. Nearly 4.5 million new and used vehicles have been sold on eBay Motors, and there are more than 22 million automotive parts and accessories available on eBay Motors at any given time.
About Kenny Brown Performance: Kenny Brown, a 25-year veteran in the Ford Mustang performance aftermarket, is legendary for building some of the most technically advanced Mustangs in North America. His critically acclaimed AGS (Advanced Geometry Suspension) high-performance suspension components for street and track-day Mustangs are some of the best and most innovative in the aftermarket. Brown is a well-known celebrity in the Ford aftermarket and has played a critical role in Mustang racing heritage and new product development since 1986. For more information see KennyBrown.com and visit Kenny Brown Performance on Facebook.
About Paul Brown/Tiger Racing: Paul Brown/Tiger Racing won the 2011 SCCA Pro Racing Pirelli World Challenge GTS team championship and propelled its owner/driver Paul Brown to the driver’s championship and Ford to the manufacturer’s title. Based in the Los Angeles suburb of Covina, Calif., it is also involved in the NASA AIX, VSCDA, SVRA and VARA series. It specializes in race car prep, transportation and trackside support as well as exotic and luxury car maintenance and repairs. It is a popular source for carbon fiber and fiberglass work as well as race car parts for Mustangs and other high-performance cars. Please visit its Facebook page at Tiger Racing.
About Justin Bell: “Exuberant” describes Justin Bell. Whether he’s chasing down the race car that’s just ahead of him or chasing down a story, hosting a TV show or developing fresh content for TV or the Web, Bell attacks everything with enthusiasm and expertise. He can be seen behind the microphone regularly on SPEED co-hosting Barrett Jackson, doing race commentary and on the new show ‘Shut up and Drive,” as well as being a special correspondent for jaylenosgarage.com. Bell is very excited about the second season of his show for eBay Motors, the “World’s Fastest Car Show,” for which he’s up for a Webby this year. His racing resume is also quite impressive, as he won the GT2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998 and he has second-place finishes at Le Mans, the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Petit Le Mans as well. He was the 1997 FIA GT2 world champion driving a Team Oreca Viper. He also has a pair of Trans-Am victories. The son of five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell, he and his family live in Los Angeles. For more information see JustinBell.com.