By Frank Santoroski, Staff Writer
Andretti Autosport put the rumors to rest when they confirmed that Townsend Bell will be joining the team’s effort at the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
Bell will be driving the No. 29 car in a fifth entry with the team that has three Indianapolis 500 wins to their credit. The Andretti team utilizes the Honda powerplant and aero package. Sponsorship has not been announced, although the Robert Graham fashion company, a sponsor of Bell’s in the past, will be a part of it.
“We’re really pleased to be able to field a fifth entry for Townsend,” said Micheal Andretti, team owner. “Even though he is not in the car full time, Townsend has proven he can quickly get up to speed. He’s shown it’s possible to compete once a year and be competitive. We see a lot of promise in his ability and are looking forward to having five cars challenging for a win at the 100th Running this May.”
Bell has nine starts in the Indianapolis 500 and finished fourth in 2009. Additionally, Bell won the Indy Lights Championship in 2001, and has claimed victories at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
The 40-year old driver is also well-known to IndyCar fans as the color commentator for NBC-SN broadcasts of Verizon IndyCar Series events.
“Driving in the 100th Running of the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport is a great opportunity,” said Bell. “I think I’ll benefit from being part of a strong multi-car team with a winning pedigree at Indy. This is my ninth-consecutive start and I’m glad it’s all come together the way it has. I’m looking forward to working with Honda again and having the chance to race for one of the best teams in the sport.”
Bell will join Andretti Autosport regulars, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who won the 500 in 2014, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz and rookie Alexander Rossi.
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway opens for practice on May 16th,2016.
Image: Forrest Mellott/INDYCAR