Long Beach, California, was the site of a lot of racing action this weekend. After hosting the first race of the Formula Drift series last weekend, this weekend saw the Streets of Long Beach hosting both the American Le Mans and SCCA World Challenge Series. Corvette Racing managed to come out on top in the ALMS race, and for a while it looked like domestic automakers might sweep the weekend as Justin Bell looked for this third-straight SCCA victory.
Despite a mighty effort by Bell, he had to settle for second place in his No. 50 eBay Motors Ford Mustang Boss 302S. Despite sticking to the bumper of Georgia native Jack Baldwin, Bell was unable to move past the Porsche Cayman S of Baldwin. Even so, a second-place finish places Bell well ahead of the other competitors.
That’s because in the double-header opener of the SCCA World Challenge Series, Bell swept both races and came out well in the lead in terms of total points. So despite finishing in second, Bell maintains a large 61-point lead over Peter Cunningham, who finished Long Beach in his Acura in third place.
It wasn’t easy even holding on to second place. Bell wound up qualifying in 5th place, so despite having won his first two races, he still had to start from the middle of the pack. He didn’t fare much better, ending up with a best practice session finishing in 3rd place, and a worse practice session finish of 14th. Just because Bell took two early wins doesn’t mean he has won the championship already. But in the end, all that matters was where Bell was when the checkered flag fell.
Bell wasn’t the only Mustang driver who had a good day at Long Beach though. Roger Miller finished in 5th place in his own Mustang Boss 302S, after qualifying in the middle of the pack. Behind him came Brad Adams in his Voodoo Music/Dat Dog Mustang Boss 302S. Alfonso Perri of Picture Cars East rounds out the Mustang competitors, finishing up in 12th place for the day.
With Bell sitting in first place, the next two closest Mustang-driving competitors in overall points are Miller in 10th place and Perri in 11th. There are still ten races left in the season, so any of these Mustang drivers could potentially overtake Bell if he has a few bad race days.
For those of you that are wondering about Tiger Racing’s Paul Brown, he is still about a month out from returning to any driving duties as he is still healing from his leg surgery.
It is still anyone’s game when it comes to the SCCA World Challenge GTS class. Bell better stay on top of his game if he hopes to close out the season with a championship title, because it isn’t just other Boss Mustangs out there gunning to knock him out of first place.