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NBC IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell’s house is robbed while he was at Rolex 24

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NBCSN IndyCar analyst Townsend Bell just lost a large part of his racing career and he’s asking the motorsports community to keep its eyes and ears open.

While Bell was in Daytona Beach, Florida this past weekend to compete in the Rolex 24 Hours, his Los Angeles home was burglarized.

The thieves got away with a substantial part of memorabilia from Bell’s racing career, including rings and other mementos.

According to a report by The Associated Press, the thieves took 10 rings from his appearances in the Indianapolis 500, a ring for winning the 2001 Indy Lights championship, a Rolex watch for being on the winning team in the 2014 Rolex 24 Hours and also another Rolex for winning the IMSA title in 2015.

“All the work you put in to get all that stuff, and at least you have recognition of the achievement, and now it’s gone,” Bell said to AP.

Bell’s home was among five that were burglarized in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, which is located just north of Santa Monica and runs along the Pacific Ocean.

Not only was jewelry stolen, also taken was a safe, a locked drawer in a closet was removed and the overall house was ransacked, Bell told the AP.

Bell’s family did not want to tell him about the burglary because he was competing in the Rolex, so he wasn’t made aware of the theft until he returned home late Sunday night after competing and finishing fifth in class in the race.

But Bell tried to take the theft in stride.

“I don’t really think I’d be focused on a stolen Rolex while I was racing,” he told the AP. “Well, actually, I’m back to zero now on Rolex watches, so maybe I would have been thinking during the race I had to win because I’ve got to start my whole collection over now.”

The thieves may have a hard time fencing much of Bell’s memorabilia as all items are engraved with his name, year and achievement, according to the AP. Bell tweeted to the motorsports community to keep their eyes open if the pilfered mementos wind up on places like Ebay or Southern California area pawn shops.

As the saying goes, if you see something that’s related to Bell, say something.

According to police, the thieves scaled a six-foot privacy wall and broke into the house through a master bedroom window.

Los Angeles police investigators are working the case.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.