May 9, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT
It’s been a busy few weeks for NBC Sports Network IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell. Not only has he called the first four races of the season, but he’s also raced twice in the American Le Mans Series with the West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari team and done TV work for NBC’s Stadium Super Trucks coverage.
Oh, and he got his Indianapolis 500 deal done too. Bell will race the No. 60 Sunoco and “Turbo” movie entry for Panther Racing.
With all that out of the way, Bell still had time to provide some insights from the last two IndyCar races at Long Beach and Brazil. It’s the latest installment of MotorSportsTalk’s “Ten with Townsend” series (see St. Petersburg and Barber debriefs linked here).
-Before we get to Brazil, how excited are you to have your Panther deal done for the 500, and what will it mean to you to get to work with JR Hildebrand and Oriol Servia?
I’m super pumped. I’m really looking forward to working with both of them. They both get around Indy very well and I expect we’ll have great cars. It helps having driven for Panther (2004 and 2005) and DRR (2008 and 2011) in the past.
-Brazil: Where does it rank among races you’ve seen? What was it like for you to call those final laps?
It’s the best IndyCar street race I can recall! It was a lot of fun in the booth, and I had a hard time not letting a few holy expletives slip out!
-You said on the broadcast, basically, that now the gloves are off in terms of defending vs. blocking. Do you see that as a positive for the series where officialdom doesn’t interfere?
I expect the drivers will be quite vocal about consistency. How are we supposed to know where the line is if it’s always moving?
-What does it say about Hinch in that he knew how to read Sato’s moves and then be able to pull off a move as he did?
I think it shows his maturity to patiently take care of his tires while the tow in front went at it. Sato did a great job to try and hang on but he was out of grip by that last lap.
-On Sato (pictured): Regardless of whether he was or wasn’t blocking, with a win and second place, how impressive has he and team been in the last two races?
They have been terrific, but you could see their improvement coming last year. The fact that they are putting it all together over a race weekend is impressive. The pieces were all there but sometimes they just need to be strung together. Conor Daly should be excited.
-Through four races, do you feel that the other teams have caught up to Penske and Ganassi, do you think they’ve regressed, or just had poor luck?
It’s a little of both. With a spec car it’s more difficult to find those advantages these days. The benefits of that are debatable.
-Most improved at Brazil? Biggest disappointment?
(Josef) Newgarden was great. It was nice to see him get a solid top-five and charging for a win.
(Tony) Kanaan. He worked so hard despite the pain and came up short thru no fault of his own. He is the ultimate warrior, and he’ll be strong at Indy, I’m sure.
-Now as we head into the month of May, do you anticipate the same teams will be strong or does moving to ovals shift it back to the power teams?
Man, it seems like the whole field is strong… seriously.
-At Long Beach, how did you balance the commitments of TV and also racing in ALMS? What did you learn about the track from racing that you could translate to the broadcast?
That plus frantically trying to get my Indy 500 deal lined up? I’m lucky to have some patient employers who share my passion for racing.
The nuances of the race track help me anticipate what might happen during the race. My broadcast instincts are sharpened.
-And lastly, how the hell did you survive the GoPro course preview with Wally’s shenanigans?
When he blinded me with silly string during an opposite lock drift…..I was convinced NBC was going to be the proud owner a highly modified Corvette!
Oct 24, 2014, 11:50 PM EDT
In a surprisingly candid admission, six-time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson says that while nothing is imminent, the day is coming when he and crew chief Chad Knaus will go their separate ways.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:32 PM EDT
In a bemusing video released Thursday, NASCAR star Kevin Harvick spent one of his recent off nights working the room at an Outback Steakhouse.
Oct 24, 2014, 10:30 PM EDT
On Thursday, Jeff Gordon delivered the one millionth meal served by one of Gordon’s key sponsors, the Drive To End Hunger.
Oct 24, 2014, 10:26 PM EDT
Jimmy Prock, who resigned earlier this week as crew chief for 16-time Funny Car champ John Force, has been hired by rival Don Schumacher Racing.
Jeff Gordon would love to return to Saturday Night Live — and wants to bring Ricky Funck with him (video)
Oct 24, 2014, 7:59 PM EDT
Jeff Gordon said Friday he wants to return to host Saturday Night Live for a second time — and he wants to reprise the hysterical “Ricky Funck” character.
Oct 24, 2014, 6:37 PM EDT
A loose car and two brushes with the wall has put Kevin Harvick in a deep hole at the start of Sunday’s Eliminator Round opener.
Oct 24, 2014, 6:06 PM EDT
If racing at Martinsville Speedway was like buying an ice cream cone, Jamie McMurray double-dipped during Friday’s Sprint Cup qualifying, earning the pole and setting a new track speed record (99.905 mph) in the process.
Oct 24, 2014, 5:19 PM EDT
Both Blaney and Wallace are within 30 points of championship leader Matt Crafton going into tomorrow’s Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville.
Oct 24, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT
A fifth win at Martinsville would put Hamlin into the Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead.
Oct 24, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT
Danica, who will swap CCs with teammate Kurt Busch starting next week at Texas, says she’s looking forward to working with the engineering-based Daniel Knost.
Oct 24, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT
GT/GTS races confirmed for split in 2015 by the Pirelli World Challenge series.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT
Gordon leads group of four Chasers in Top 5 speeds; all 8 remaining Chasers within Top 15.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT
Formula 1’s new technical regulations prompted Lotus to use a twin-tusk nose for 2014, but this could be scrapped for next season.
Oct 24, 2014, 1:15 PM EDT
The reigning Sprint Cup champion moves forward.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:50 PM EDT
Bernie Ecclestone allows the team to miss the next two races as it searches for a buyer.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
Deputy team boss Federico Gastaldi says the team is close to finalizing its drive line-up, with Grosjean in pole position for the seat.
Oct 24, 2014, 12:07 PM EDT
A win for Kenseth this Sunday would also put him into the Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead next month.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT
Two-time Formula One World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi will make an appearance at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas next week as part of a COTA fan experience.
Oct 24, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT
Ricciardo full of praise for Austin and the Circuit of the Americas ahead of next weekend’s race.
The man behind the sculptures: William Behrends’ presence endures for Borg-Warner Trophy, and Giants legends
Oct 24, 2014, 11:09 AM EDT
Statues outside AT&T Park and the faces on the Borg-Warner Trophy share a common thread, in sculptor William Behrends.
Video from NASCAR America
- Jimmie Johnson: ‘That day is out there’ when he’ll split with crew chief Chad Knaus 1
- Jeff Gordon would love to return to Saturday Night Live — and wants to bring Ricky Funck with him (video) 0
- 2-for-1: Jamie McMurray wins Martinsville pole, sets track record 0
- Caterham given dispensation to miss Austin and Brazil 3
- Caterham the latest team to fall foul of the Leafield ‘curse’ 1
- Administrator takes over running of Caterham F1 Team 1
- Remembering the Hendrick Motorsports airplane tragedy: 10 years later, it still seems like just yesterday 5