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Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo pair up for 2019 IMSA championship run

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Townsend Bell and Frankie Montecalvo will race full-time for AIM Vasser Sullivan (AVS) in 2019 in pursuit of an IMSA Weathertech Sports Car championship.

They will pair up in of the two Lexus RC F GT3 race cars that will be campaigned in 2019. In his last full season of 2015, Bell won the IMSA GTD championship.

“This is a great paring of drivers,” said car owner Jimmy Vasser at IMSA.com. “They know each other and they know what it takes to be successful.”

Montecalvo has seven podium finishes in 32 combined starts in the Weathertech and American Le Mans series.

“I’m thrilled to have a chance to go after another IMSA GTD Championship with Frankie,” said Bell. “We’ve had some partial seasons the last few years and the stars aligned to make this happen.

“My best Indy 500 finish came while driving for Jimmy Vasser and I’ve always admired the way he runs the team and guides the ship. The fact that AIM and Ian Willis are also involved makes this feel like one big family get together. Ian led us to a Daytona 24 win in 2014 and the NAEC Championship. I’m looking forward to turning some laps soon in the Lexus RCF GT3. It’s a race winning, pole sitting car and it’s nice to have that confidence heading into a new season.”

Bell made five starts last year with a pair of fifth-place finishes to bracket the season in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the Motul Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

Preparations for the race include a tire test: “We have tire test coming up soon,” Bell told NBC Sports. “I’m looking forward to testing on the Michelins with the car. Then it’s the usual physical conditioning and simulator work to get ready for the longest race of the year at Daytona.”

“I could not be happier joining AIM Vasser Sullivan for the 2019 IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship season,” said Montecalvo. “In 2017, I raced with AIM and had some success in the Pirelli World Challenge Sprint X. … We should have a very competitive team this year. Co-driving with Townsend, I feel AVS has a real shot at competing for a championship. I’m looking forward to heading to Daytona to start off the 2019 season!”

Bell and Montecalvo will join Jack Hawksworth at AVS. Hawksworth’s co-driver has not yet been announced.

The complete IMSA season can be seen on the NBC family of networks beginning with the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 4 – 6, 2019.

IndyCar entry lists for Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

IndyCar entry lists Indianapolis
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There are 25 drivers on the NTT IndyCar Series entry lists at Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course with a few new yet familiar faces for the Oct. 2-3 race weekend.

Four-time champion Sebastien Bourdais will make his season debut in the No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet (shifting Dalton Kellett to the No. 41) with AJ Foyt Racing, which he is joining full time next season. James Hinchcliffe, who had run three races with Andretti Autosport, will return in place of Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda. Helio Castroneves will drive Arrow McLaren SP’s No. 7 Dallara-Chevy for Oliver Askew, who is out with concussion-like symptoms.

Sage Karam, who has two IndyCar starts this year at IMS (the road course on July 4 and the Indy 500 on Aug. 23), also will return to the series in Dreyer & Reinbold’s No. 24 Dallara-Chevrolet.

HARVEST GP ENTRY LISTS: Friday l Saturday

Friday and Saturday of the Harvest GP presented by GMR will mark the second and third races this season on Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. While the July 4 race on the circuit was 80 laps, Friday’s distance is 85 laps, and Saturday will be a 75-lap event.

Championship leader Scott Dixon led 26 of 80 laps to win the July 4 race at the IMS road course. With three races remaining in the series, the five-time series champion enters with a 72-point lead on Josef Newgarden.

Click here to see who’s on the IndyCar entry lists in Race 1 and in Race 2 for the Harvest GP presented by GMR at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.


START TIMES AND TV INFO FOR INDYCAR AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE (all times ET):

Thursday

IndyCar NTT Series practice: 2:25-3:40 p.m., NBC Sports Gold

IndyCar qualifying, Race 1: 6:20 p.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

Friday

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 1: 3:30 p.m. (green flag, 5 p.m.), USA Network, NBC Sports Gold

Saturday

—IndyCar qualifying: 10:20 a.m. (two groups/12 minutes apiece), NBC Sports Gold

—IndyCar Harvest Grand Prix, Race 2: 2:30 p.m (green flag, 2:31 p.m.)., NBC, NBC Sports Gold