Bell Targets NHRA Return at Atlanta

Following his recent high speed incident — Edmonton’s Jim Bell is set to re-emerge with the NHRA’s Pro Mod series during the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals near Atlanta….

The third NHRA Pro Mod event of the 2014 season is actually Jim Bell’s second event as he was forced to vacate his spot at the Houston NHRA national event. Jim had a spectacular crash between Gainesville and Houston racing at the inaugural PDRA event at Rockingham just over a month ago. His JBRC built twin turbo Proline powered Mustang got out of the racing grove and got into the pollen that was between the white line and the wall. Jim noticed he was getting too close the wall and made and tried to ease the car back into the grove in the right lane and the car made a hard right hand turn and got up on its side and hit the right hand retaining wall at approximately 190 MPH just past the finish line to the eighth mile. His Mustang hit the wall hard and went up in the air and came back down and barrel rolled 4 times and skidded down the track on its roof. Lemar Swindle who was in the right hand lane did an amazing job of avoiding hitting Jim’s race car barrel rolling in front of him and was able to get his car over into the left lane while travelling at approximately 200 MPH without crashing himself.

Jim Bell will return to NHRA Pro Mod racing this weekend at Atlanta

Jim Bell will return to NHRA Pro Mod racing this weekend at Atlanta

Jim never did lose consciousness and undid his belts and was helped out of the car by Rick Moore and medical team and taken to Moore County hospital where he was released after a variety of tests. While he suffered no major injuries; he was definitely stiff and sore for five weeks and went through extensive physiotherapy. His Jerry Bickel constructed Mustang chassis did what it is supposed to do and that is protect the driver. Knowing that his car was extensively damaged Jim was already thinking about a replacement car while laying on his back in the hospital for 6 hours.

With the extensive damage and Jim’s will to get back on the track as soon as possible, he was on the phone the next day with Eric Dillard who helped Jim broker a deal on a new JBRC 69 Camaro that Jerry had built for Khalid alBalooshi. Khalid’s driving contract for the Al-Anabi Top Fuel team was renewed and he was going to sell the car to Rickie Smith but Rickie, after having some great success with his nitrous program in the EDRA in Jan and Feb decided to stay with his Nitrous program and a deal was struck for the turn key Camaro which had a Proline built Hemi between the frame rails. Rob Nascimento who is the full time crew chief for the JB’s Power Centre Pro Mod team spent the next three weeks getting the car outfitted with a Proline AJE 481 X engine combination (the car had a turbo Hemi between the frame rails when Jim bought it). Jim tested last week and ran in the second PDRA event and is ready to get back to NHRA racing. Missing the Houston race was costly points wise, but Jim is still confident the team can achieve their goal of a top 10 finish in the points. He dropped down to # 21 from #13 after Gainesville.

“The new car has a few advantages over the Mustang including but not limited to being a lighter weight car. Crew chief Rob Nascimento, a veteran of over 20 years in the sport, including stints with the legendary Scotty Cannon, as well as Ron Krisher, Roger Burgess and most recently Steve Torrence’s Top Fuel Car, can place weight in just the right spots, as it is 150 lbs lighter. It took just a couple runs testing for Jim to get used to the new car and he likes what he sees and feels.”.

” Even though the Camaro came out of the same chassis shop as the Mustang the driving position is very different and Jim is still getting comfortable in the new car. The steering wheel is much closer to me, the sight lines are considerably better and having the ability to move the weight where we want it are just a few of the differences. I have received a ton of positive feedback from racing friends and fans about the new Camaro.”

“We know the competition is extremely tough in the NHRA series, it is the toughest Pro Mod series period. But we have a great car and I have a great team in my corner. Including Rob Jamie Miller and Tyler Coots who have been working tirelessly to give me a fast, safe race car.”

Jim also thanks Proline Racing engines for supplying the Power with their 481X AJE/ Proline engine program, Jerry Bickle Race Cars, Rossler transmissions, Big Stuff EFI , Precision Pro Mod Gen II 88 MM turbos. Jim also credits Steve Petty and Eric Dillard for all their help and assistance in tuning.

Pro Mod qualifying sessions are scheduled for 3:45 and 6 p.m., Friday, and noon, Saturday. Round 1 of eliminations begins at 2:45 p.m., Saturday, and eliminations will resume at 12:45 p.m., Sunday.

Posted by:  Dean Murdoch (Speedzone Magazine)
Bruce Biegler Photo