SLO High grad shines in Indy 500 trials

May 21, 2016
Townsend Bell

Townsend Bell

Townsend Bell, a 41-year-old San Luis Obispo High School grad, was the fastest Saturday in initial qualifying rounds for the Indy 500. By the end of the day, Bell finished fifth securing him a very good shot for a pole position on Sunday.

Amid brutal conditions, Bell made a qualifying run of 230.582 mph giving him a shot at his first Indy 500 win.

Canadian James Hinchcliffe was the fastest qualifier at a speed of 230.946. Ryan Hunter-Reay was second at 230.805 mph and Will Power came in third at 230.736 mph.

Bell has not raced full-time in more than a decade. He currently works as an auto racing commentator for NBC Sports.

Bell’s mother and brother live in San Luis Obispo.


Great story!

Having followed his career for years, we will certainly be rooting for Townsend on race day.


I am an avid race fan and have been since the late ’60s. Townsend Bell is an extremely capable race car driver. For him to be so consistently quick at Indy given his part time driving status is a truly remarkable accomplishment.

He is a very good television commentator as well and provides remarkable insight into race situations and strategies.

And, no, I do not know Townsend. I’m just a SLO County resident like the rest of you. But this guy is really good at what he does. He really is.

Congrats to him for all his success!