Townsend Bell

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Townsend Bell is logging a lot of miles lately – on the racetrack and in the air. Between driving in the Indianapolis 500, racing sports cars on two continents and his gig as an NBCSN analyst on Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts, the 40-year-old Californian is in the midst of a most hectic and varied schedule.

Since May 1, Bell has:

* Driven a Ferrari 458 in TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California (May 3);

* Spent two weeks in Indianapolis, where he practiced, qualified, raced and finished 14th in the 99th Indianapolis 500 (and worked for NBSCN's telecast on Coors Light Carb Day);

* Driven the Ferrari 458 in the Detroit Chevrolet Belle Isle Grand Prix sports car race (May 30);

* Hopped on a plane to France immediately after the Detroit race to test a different Ferrari (May 31) in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, scheduled for June 13-14;

* Flew back to the United States to resume his NBSCN duties this weekend for the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway.

It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin, Bell included.

“It’s starting to get a little confusing when I open my backpack to pull out my proper (race series) credential for the day,” Bell joked. “I’m starting to forget who I am and what I am supposed to be doing, between the TV commitments and sports cars here, sports cars there and the Indy 500. Frankly, it’s been a blast. Sure, the time zones can get a little exhausting and the travel’s a little irritating, but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. I’m having a great time.”

Bell’s secret for maintaining a proper schedule?

“Just sleep whenever you get a chance to sleep,” he said. “It was pretty rough going to Le Mans right after Detroit. Didn’t get much sleep on the way over there, immediately went into a driver’s briefing and then my first 10 laps (testing) were in the wet on intermediates (tires) on a pretty cold day. That was an eye opener. What a great racetrack, though.”

Surprisingly, Bell said his transition from a Verizon IndyCar Series car to a Ferrari is not as challenging as managing the difference between the Ferrari he drives in the TUDOR GTD class and the one he’ll pilot in the GTLM class at Le Mans.

“The hardest part is going from the GTD sports car to the GTLM sports car and back because those are both (Ferrari) 458 GT cars, but they’re different spec and different tire,” he said. “Because they’re so similar, it makes the subtleties harder to deal with as opposed to the Indy car.”

Ryan Briscoe has had a similar schedule of competing in the Indianapolis 500, participating in practice at Le Mans in a Corvette Racing entry and competing in the Firestone 600 in the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda. He won from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway in 2010.