Recount Awards Matt Bell Series Qualifying Record
KBruCommunications September 30, 2015 0
Following a recent recount, Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driver Matt Bell has been named the new series leader for most pole positions earned.
Canadian race car driver Devon Powell, who started his career in street stock endurance racing in 1997, previously held the title, with a total of 13 career pole positions. American racer Matt Bell started the 2015 race season with nine and wasted no time inching closer to the record, earning three more in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R.
A closer examination of the historical records by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the sanctioning body of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, revealed two of Powell’s credited pole positions from 2001 could not be counted in the final tally. In the Continental Tire Challenge’s inaugural year, Powell was originally credited as the fastest qualifier in class for Race 9 at Trois Rivieres, when in fact, Powell’s co-driver, Doug Goado qualified the Powell Motorsports Corvette. In the following round at Daytona International Speedway, rain canceled the qualifying session, thus awarding Powell a first place starting position due to his top spot in the point standings. Consequently, Powell is now listed as earning 11 career poles in the series, moving Matt Bell to the top of the list with 12 poles in 8 seasons between Turner Motorsport and Stevenson Motorsport.
“It’s easy to take all the credit for my successes, but qualifying is a group effort,” said Bell. “Turner Motorsport and Stevenson Motorsport gave me the tools I needed to get the job done, and I’m extremely honored to have been driving for these amazing teams when I’ve won each pole position.”
When reflecting on his most memorable qualifying success, Bell recalled a wet session in 2009 at a then new New Jersey Motorsports Park in the Turner Motorsport E46 M3.
“The clouds opened up as we all rolled out for our session, and I was on slick tires. My first couple laps were spent trying to figure out where the track held its wet traction. The track was improving throughout the session, so every time by I had to keep pushing harder. In the end, I wound up on pole, just 0.04 seconds ahead of Duncan Ende. It was such a hard fought 15 minutes qualifying, and I still use the memory as my mental preparation for how to drive in the wet: force it a little free, and hold it there.”
Bell admitted he enjoyed a few surprise qualifying successes so far this season, despite feeling a “tightening of the screws” on the Camaro’s regulated Balance of Performance. Despite the setback, Bell and co-driver Lawson Aschenbach have pressed on to celebrate three pole positions and three podium finishes to date in this season. Although out of contention for the championship, the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro will be a podium contender in the final round of the season this weekend at Road Atlanta. For event information, visit imsa.com.