CTSCC: Practice Makes Perfect; Matt Bell Claims Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Pole at Sebring

RaceChaser Staff CTSCC, Featured, Road Racing, Southeast 0 Comments

SEBRING, Fla. – official series release — Michael Levitt/LAT/IMSA photo —

Practice made perfect for Matt Bell on Thursday at Sebring Int’l Raceway.

One day after running a fast lap in a mock qualifying run in final Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge practice, Bell captured the TOTAL Pole Award in qualifying for the Microsoft Visual Studio 150.

Bell ran a track-record lap of two minutes, 15.846 (99.112 mph) in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R to capture his 10th career TOTAL Pole Award, tying him for second on the all-time list of fast qualifiers.

Bell will be joined on the front row by teammate Andrew Davis, who ran 2:16.353 (98.744 mph) in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro. A year ago, Davis and Robin Liddell gave the Camaro Z/28 its first victory in the series at Sebring.

“Our qualifying run was perfect – just like it ran in practice,” said Bell, who will co-drive with Lawson Aschenbach. “That’s what helps this team, our forethought to put things like mock qualifying runs on our schedule. We’re taking an awesome hot rod and making a making a really good race car out of it.”

Billy Johnson qualified third in the Grand Sport (GS) class driving the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R, running 2:16.542 (98.607 mph). He will be joined on the second row by Brad Jaeger, who ran 2:17.029 (98.257 mph) in the No. 14 Doran Racing Nismo GT Academy Nissan 370Z.

Hugh Plumb, winner of the season-opening BMW Performance 200 at Daytona Int’l Speedway, qualified fifth in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 with a lap of 2:17.244 (98.103 mph).

Called on to substitute for the second straight event, Justin Piscitell snared his second consecutive Street Tuner (ST) TOTAL Pole Award. Driving the No. 34 Twister Trailers Mazda MX-5, Piscitell shattered the track record with a lap of 2:23.900 (93.565 mph).

Piscitell opened the year filling in for Jeff Mosing at Murillo Racing, and won the pole at Daytona and finished second with Eric Foss in a Porsche Cayman. At Sebring he is driving for the new Alara Racing team, a partnership between Alara owner Ara Malcassian and Ken Murillo.

“There’s a big difference between driving the Cayman and the Mazda,” said Piscitell. “The Porsche is faster in a straight line with a lot of downbite. When you hop in the MX-5 it’s like going into a small boxing ring. It’s revved up and happy; not quite as stable as the Cayman, but it handles nicely.

“I have nothing lined up for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca,” added Piscitell, who won his first ST pole at Watkins Glen in 2010 driving a Mazda Speed 3 for MER. “Hopefully, this will capture someone’s attention.”

Adam Isman qualified second in the No. 18 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman with a lap of 2:24.655 (93.077 mph), followed by Mosing, who ran 2:24.695 (93.051 mph) in his return to the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman. Early session leader Chad McCumbee wound up fourth quickest, running 2:24.954 (92.885 mph) in the No. 5 CJ Wilson Racing Modspace Mazda MX-5.

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