Townsend Bell confirms he’s running the Indy 500 again this year

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Townsend Bell took some time during NBC Sports Network’s broadcast of the IZOD IndyCar Series race in Sao Paulo, Brazil to confirm he’ll be back in a car for the Indianapolis 500.

Bell will race as a teammate to JR Hildebrand at Panther Racing, with Oriol Servia an unofficial teammate as well in the Panther DRR Chevrolet. Bell’s entry will feature sponsorship from Sunoco and Dreamworks’ new animated film “Turbo,” which premieres in theaters July 17.

“It’s really exciting to be back with Panther,” Bell said. “I even wore my throwback uniform from when I was with Panther in 2004 [for the seat fitting]!”

Bell raced with Panther in 2004 and 2005 and made his Indianapolis 500 debut with Vision Racing in 2006. He has three top-10 finishes in six starts, with a best of fourth in 2009 (KV Racing Technology) and ninth last year for Schmidt Pelfrey Motorsports. His best start came with Schmidt in 2011, in fourth place.

One of the busiest men in racing this year, Bell is also serving as an analyst for Stadium Super Trucks coverage on the NBC Sports Network and racing a Ferrari F458 Italia for the West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk team in the American Le Mans Series’ GT class.

The move brings the number of confirmed cars to 32, with Buddy Rice expected in a third Schmidt car for 33, and five other drivers – Bryan Clauson, Buddy and Jaques Lazier, Jay Howard and Katherine Legge – reportedly in the frame for additional seats if teams have the ability to field extra cars and if they can scrounge together enough backing.

Expect one, possibly two of those five extras to actually materialize in a seat.

New Formula E champ, teammate fined for ‘underwear violation’

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During this past weekend’s pair of season-ending races in New York, newly-crowned Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne and Techeetah teammate Andre Lotterer were fined nearly $6,000 apiece for, well, there’s no easier way to say it than, “underwear violations.”

According to Jalopnik.com, the two drivers were fined for “wearing non-compliant” underwear during qualifying for Sunday’s second and final race of the weekend.

In addition to cash, the duo also lost two penalty points each for violating Article 30.14 of the Formula E 2017/2018 regulations.

In case you’re wondering, the violation has nothing to do with not wearing the right sponsor’s brand of jockeys or boxers.

Rather, Formula E ruled the underwear the drivers wore was a “safety issue” and that the drivers were penalized for wearing “non-compliant” underwear.

Drivers are required to wear fire- and flame-resistant outer- and under-garments while behind the wheel to help minimize the risk of being burned in the event of a crash and resulting fire.

Here’s how Formula E characterized the violation in a statement about Vergne’s penalty

“After checking the clothes, helmet and front head restraint of the driver, it was found that he was wearing non-compliant underwear pants which are not allowed by the [FIA’s] international sporting code. The driver apologized. The stewards consider that in this case the infringement occurred during group qualifying with limited cars on circuit for a short period of time.”

It’s not the first time Formula E drivers have been penalized for having on the wrong kind of drawers.

Former F-E champ Lucas di Grassi was penalized three points and nearly $10,000 in March for fire-resistant underwear that FIA officials called “too short.”

Gee, who knew that pre-qualifying “inspection” could be so personal?

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