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Bell leads morning practice at Indy

Townsend Bell, KV Racing, Indy 500 practice 2009Townsend Bell continued KV Racing Technology's very strong form by topping a rain-delayed morning practice session ahead of third qualifying at Indianapolis.

The session began nearly an hour late after strenuous efforts to dry the track following earlier rain, and was twice paused to allow further drizzle to pass.

Bell was quickest for much of the 45 minutes of running that eventually took place, swapping the top spot occasionally with Rahal Letterman's Oriol Servia.

Both drivers' Indianapolis 500 deals were for the second half of the month only, so they did not compete in last weekend's opening two days of qualifying.

The same applies to Tomas Scheckter, who was fourth fastest for Dale Coyne Racing this morning, whereas Robert Doornbos - who took third in the warm-up session - had to sit out first qualifying due to practice crashes that sidelined his Newman/Haas/Lanigan entry.

Two other men who missed out on top 22 grid spots due to accidents - Alex Tagliani (Conquest) and John Andretti (Dreyer & Reinbold/Richard Petty) were sixth and seventh, behind HVM's EJ Viso, who was bumped out in the final minute of last Sunday's qualifying session by Scott Sharp.

With 36 drivers having now entered the race, three drivers are set to miss out today and have to try and grab a spot on Bump Day tomorrow. Nelson Philippe (HVM), Mike Conway (Dreyer & Reinbold) and Stanton Barrett (3G) were the slowest of the currently non-qualified drivers in practice, although Bruno Junqueira has yet to take to the track after putting together a late deal with Conquest Racing.

Only a handful of the drivers already securely in the race took part in this morning's session, as just Marco Andretti, Dan Wheldon and AJ Foyt IV decided to get some more practice with their race set-ups.

The rain interruptions this morning mean that today's qualifying session will start around half an hour later than planned.

Pos  Driver            Team                     Time      Speed
 1.  Townsend Bell     KV                       40.2540s  223.580mph
 2.  Oriol Servia      Rahal Letterman          40.4048s  222.746mph
 3.  Robert Doornbos   Newman/Haas/Lanigan      40.6487s  221.409mph
 4.  Tomas Scheckter   Coyne                    40.7027s  221.116mph
 5.  EJ Viso           HVM                      40.7057s  221.099mph
 6.  Alex Tagliani     Conquest                 40.8306s  220.423mph
 7.  John Andretti     Petty/Dreyer & Reinbold  40.8627s  220.250mph
 8.  Milka Duno        Dreyer & Reinbold        40.9393s  219.838mph
 9.  Buddy Lazier      Hemelgarn                41.0007s  219.508mph
10.  Ryan Hunter-Reay  Vision                   41.0248s  219.379mph
11.  Nelson Philippe   HVM                      41.0389s  219.304mph
12.  Mike Conway       Dreyer & Reinbold        41.1725s  218.593mph
13.  Stanton Barrett   3G                       41.2730s  218.060mph
14.  Marco Andretti    Andretti Green           41.2756s  218.046mph
15.  Dan Wheldon       Panther                  41.2913s  217.964mph
16.  AJ Foyt IV        Foyt                     41.4239s  217.266mph

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