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Townsend Bell replaces Wilson for final races
23 September 2011
Townsend Bell will be the latest driver to sit in the #22 car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, with the team opting to run him in the final two races of the season at Kentucky Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Bell is replacing Justin Wilson, who sustained back injuries in a practice accident at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course earlier in the season and who is not yet sufficiently recovered to get back into the cockpit. It will be Bell's first IndyCar race since he finished 26th in the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500 in May, retiring after being caught up in an accident on lap 157 while driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
"I'm hopeful that Justin continues to have a speedy recovery and I appreciate him letting me borrow his rocket ship for a couple of weekends," said Bell after the announcement. "After a promising run not fully realized at Indy it's hard to sit and not have a chance to come back out and keep improving, so this is really exciting to be back with Dreyer & Reinbold."
Since Wilson was sidelined, Simon Pagenaud and Giorgio Pantano have substituted for him at road courses while Tomas Scheckter was tapped for the ride at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. However, for the final two oval races of the season, team co-owner Dennis Reinbold decided that Bell was the best option available to them.
"We've both grown significantly since we worked together in 2008 and we feel Townsend will represent DRR and our partners very well to close out the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season," said Reinbold.
Bell - who was among the drivers hoping to test at Kentucky Speedway on Friday but found himself frustrated by rain showers in the area - is keen to get every bit of track time opportunity he can in the series.
"I wouldn't be out here if I didn't want to do this more often," he said. "Next year with the new car and engines coming in it would be a lot more difficult to just show up at Indianapolis and do well ... If there's any way to get an early start on doing more races in the future, that's what we're here to do."
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