JB Power Centre Team – Norwalk Post-Race Report

Jim Bell’s second half to the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series produces disappointing DNQ at NHRA Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Ohio‚Ķ.

Jim Bell and the JB Power Centre Pro Mod team’s knows the time is now. It’s time to start moving up in the points. Starting the season Jim had one primary goal, and that was to finish in the top ten in the final NHRA Pro Mod standings. He started the season well at Gainesville with a solid qualifying effort. Then his early start took a turn for the worst when he crashed at a testing event prior to Houston and race two. Injuries and putting together a new car prevented Jim from competing at Houston.

Atlanta was next and the team did not have enough testing on the new car and they suffered a dnq. Englishtown was solid for the team with career bests and a round one victory. Off to Bristol and the team was in the field in the #16 spot but a round one loss ended the weekend early. The 50 points lost in the second and third race has kept Jim out of the top 12, so he needs results.

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A great testing weekend last week at the Martin PDRA event gave the team more tuning data for the first 660 which is critical for the Turbo powered cars. Jim and the team (Rob Nascimento and Brandon Stroud) hope that data transfers to solid short times and low 6.90 passes. The field this weekend is tough as usual and many drivers are looking to move up the standings. Any success will be hard fought.

Last weekend’s race at Norwalk’s Summit Motorsport park is one of the premier events in the NHRA Mello Yello series. While it has only been an NHRA track for eight season, is has always been a one of the best in North America. The Bader family who own it know how to treat both racers and fans. It gets a huge car count (rivaling Las Vegas and Indy).

Jim wanted to make a good showing there to put him on the right track to a strong second half of the season. There is a seven week layoff between this event and the next series race, the “Big Show” at Indy, so it is important to have some momentum before the long layoff.

On Saturday, the conditions were not what many teams expected during the qualifying sessions. Jim shook hard in round one and he coasted down with an eight second time slip, and then in round two the track was again tricky but they had a softer tune-up un the car and Jim got through the bad area of the left lane and tiptoed down to a 6.139/229. Unfortunately it was 1/1000ths outside the field. For the final session Jim was in the better right lane, and he knew he would have to run a low to mid 6.0 to make the field. The car got through the first 100 feet but just past that the car started to drift left and he was forced to get off the throttle and correct the car back to the middle of his own lane. His earlier 6.139 secs would be his best effort but it kept him outside the field. He would end up 20th in the 25 car field – which featured a swift bump spot of 6.072 secs.

“It was not what we were hoping for this weekend Jim stated as the team was packing up for the weekend,” Jim stated. “A tricky race track bit us this weekend. Many teams struggled. Sunday the track was much better but you have to get in the show to play on Sunday. I watched some Pro Stock qualifying and a number of team struggled throughout qualifying as well. Sunday the track was much better and the Pro Mod field as well as the rest of the pro classes put on a great show. Congratulation’s to fellow Turbo Pro Mod driver Troy Coughlin for his first win of the session”.

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“The Pro Mod Class has a long break until the next race the Labour day long weekend and Indy. We will go out and test in between and try different set-ups to find the right chassis set-up for the final four races of the season.”

Jim thanks his crew for their hard work in the first half of the season and the support he gets from Pro Line Racing Engines, Rossler Transmissions, Jerry Bickel Race Car, Precision Turbo and all the racing related companies he works with.

Posted by: Dean Murdoch
Photos by: Steve Embling