Justin Bell Back in Top-Five Form Sunday

in No. 50 Children's Tumor Foundation/R4R Ford Mustang with eBay Motors/eBay Mobile and Quicken Loans

Justin Bell scored a top-five finish in the No. 50 Children's Tumor Foundation/Racing4Research.org Tiger Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S for eBay Motors and eBay Mobile and Quicken Loans on Sunday at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix for his best Pirelli World Challenge finish since Long Beach in April.

Bell had a great start from ninth on the grid and was running as high as fourth by lap five.  He dropped a spot soon after a race restart but Bell was confident that the season-long trend of the No. 50 Mustang coming in in the second half of races would hold true in Detroit.  Unfortunately, a late-race incident forced the race to end under caution just as Bell was starting to hit his stride.

“For us, this is a second half of the race car,” Bell said. “We started to be able to get our pace up but then of course it ran short, the race ended under the yellow.  I could have probably got fourth place because I was just starting to see him get a little wilder at the same time I was just starting to get smoother.  We were running some the same pace and speed as the leaders near the end.”

Bell and the team were still happy with a much-need top-five result after a heavy accident one race ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a three-race run of poor finishes.

“It is amazing and the team needed a solid run rather than a crazy race after all they have been through,” Bell said. “I am really pleased for everyone, we’re happy.”

Bell and other teams and drivers at the track this weekend also made some special young people happy.  A group of about 20 young NF patients, or “heroes,” and their families from the Children’s Tumor Foundation/Racing4Research program were among the VIP guests at Belle Isle.  The CTF/R4R program increases awareness of neurofibromatosis (NF) and raises funds for research to find a cure for the debilitating disease.

“Those kids are my real fans and I am even their bigger fans,” Bell said. “When you meet with them on race weekends it is both moving and motivating. You always want to do your best in any race but they make you want to never give up no matter how tough it gets out there, and we have needed that kind of inspiration lately. Lots of great drivers here this weekend but these amazing children are the real heroes.”

Bell and Tiger Racing are also turning the Mazda Raceway accident into a positive fundraiser for the CTF/Racing4Research.org program. Bids can now be made on the crash-damaged Mustang parts, signed by Bell, from the accident on eBay Motors. Check out Bell’s celebrity page at eBay.com, search Justin Bell No. 50 eBay Motors, or click a direct link here.

Noteworthy-    Bell Emerson, CEO of Quicken Loans, was the winning bidder on a GRAND-AM Behind-the-Scenes package auctioned at the 2011 Children's Tumor Foundation Benefit in New York City and chose this weekend’s race at Belle Isle for the priceless experience.  Included among his full schedule of activities and at-track “perks” were a pace car ride, garage and paddock tours and visits to drivers meetings and the official starter’s stand.

-    Another CTF/R4R fundraiser is the Fuel the Cure contest that ends today!  Donating bidders can be in the running to win hot pit passes for the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway later this month where Ryan Newman will carry at CTF/R4R livery on his No. 39 Chevrolet.  Check it out and bid now at fuelthecure.org.About the Children's Tumor Foundation and Racing4Research: Developed by the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the Racing4Research (R4R) program utilizes competitive, professional auto racing as a vehicle to increase awareness of neurofibromatosis and raise funds for research through corporate sponsorship, personal donations, and individual fundraising by NF Heroes: children and adults from around the country who live with neurofibromatosis.  NF affects one in every 3,000 children, more than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease combined, and can lead to a wide variety of complications, including blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities and excruciating and disabling pain.  The Racing4Research program offers children and families living with the disorder a uniquely empowering weekend, and has raised over $1.5 million dollars since its inception five years ago. 

Donations can be made at www.racing4research.org.

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