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Originally published Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 4:52 PM

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Bell leaves TV booth for Indy 500 try

Townsend Bell is making the jump from the broadcast booth down to the track for another shot in the Indianapolis 500.

The Associated Press

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INDIANAPOLIS —

Townsend Bell is making the jump from the broadcast booth down to the track for another shot in the Indianapolis 500.

Bell spent the first four races of the year working as an analyst for NBC's IndyCar broadcasts.

Was he making some mental notes for Sunday's race day? Of course.

"It helps a lot to stay current and understand what's going on," he said. "In previous years, not doing TV, I'd be like, `Who's leading the championship? What's going on?' It's allowed me to be much more in tune with what's going on."

He likes driving a whole lot more than his TV job, but having a mix of broadcasting and driving works just fine for Bell.

"I think the two play off each other really well," Bell said. "Racing in the 500 each year really gives me some detailed texture on the car, the setup, the personalities, all of that and to do a better job of telling the story."

It's certainly a different view from the broadcast booth than it is sitting in a car, on pit road or even from the couch at home. Bell said he has the opportunity to get more of a look at strategies from team to team and can spend more time watching each driver.

Bell, who is driving the 500 for Panther Racing, doesn't plan to ever search again for a yearlong ride in IndyCar.

"I'm anxious all year long (to get back to Indy)," he said. "But it's less and less. I just haven't done it full time for years now. It's worked out well to come to Indy and focus on making sure I have a competitive program."


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