Sunoco “Turbo” Driver Townsend Bell Gets Up to Speed Quickly in Panther’s No. 60 Entry

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - (May 15, 2013) – A day after Panther Racing driver JR Hildebrand finished second-quick during practice at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, teammate Townsend Bell followed suit in the No. 60 Sunoco “Turbo” Chevrolet, as the Californian finished second on the final Wednesday speed chart. Heat and track activity were on the rise again today during practice for the 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 as Panther Racing drivers, who combined to turn 87 laps, both spent time on the famed 2.5-mile oval.

"We made a lot gains today,” Townsend said.”I'm really happy with what we discovered in the Sunoco Turbo Chevy. The Panther Racing guys do an awesome job. I had a lot of little 'teething' issues in dealing with a new car, new timing stand, and all of that, but the guys just keep working hard to get everything sorted out and it's been nice. We've been able to take our time because we know that the equipment is really good and I can't wait for race day. I think we're going to be in really good shape. Things at this point are a little bit weather dependent as we start thinking about our qualifying setup. We just have to see what the weather is going to do on Pole Day and then try to make our best guess accordingly as to when to practice and what to practice. I'm just really pleased with everything that we're working toward right now and I'm just having fun. It's great to be back."

Bell completed his second day behind the wheel of the No. 60 Sunoco “Turbo” Chevy, and posted a best lap average speed of 223.716 mph, 40.2295 seconds. Piloting the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, Hildebrand turned a total of 53 laps on the day as the team continued to focus on its race setup. His best lap on the day was clocked at 221.316 mph, 40.6658 seconds.

“We’re feeling pretty good,” JR explained. “We haven’t worked very much on our qualifying stuff yet, because there are still a couple of days before we really have to do that. More than anything, once we get to Friday and Saturday it’s hard to work on race stuff, so we’ve been running through a lot of things to make the National Guard car work well in traffic. And we’ve been trying to figure out what we need to do so we’ve got a fast car, but also a car that works well throughout an entire stint. I feel like we’ve made good progress the last few days. It’s always hard to tell running in traffic what other guys are doing, but we certainly aren’t one of the cars struggling to get by people out there. But we’ve got to keep working at it, because at this place you certainly can’t take anything for granted.”

Track action resumes tomorrow for the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 from 12:00 pm until 6 p.m.

Pole Day qualifications are scheduled for Saturday, May 18th. The 97th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will be held on Sunday, May 26th and broadcast live on ABC starting at 12 pm (ET) with additional coverage provided by the IMS Radio Network, XM/Sirius Channel 211. Practice, qualifying and race coverage is also available on the IndyCar Mobile app from Verizon.