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Bell Teaming With Schmidt/Ganassi, Herbalife For Indy 500 Entry

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Sam Schmidt Motorsports/Chip Ganassi Racing will field an entry for the 2010 Indianapolis 500 for veteran driver Townsend Bell, with primary sponsor from global nutrition and direct-selling company Herbalife, the team announced March 2.

Bell, 34, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., returns to "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing"  in the bright green HERBALIFE SSM/CGR car after recording a sensational charge at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway in finishing fourth behind the wheel of the Herbalife machine in the 2009 running of the world's biggest auto race.

"With the announcement of Herbalife as our team's primary sponsor for the 2010 Indy 500, we have all of the elements to produce a winning effort," Bell said. "Teaming Herbalife with two championship operations, Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing, gives this program a tremendous combination to race for the victory.  After last year's limited schedule at Indy, I am confident about the Herbalife team's chances when practice runs open on May 15."

Bell, the 2001 Firestone Indy Lights champion, started 24th in last year's event and drove his way through the field to score his highest Indy 500 finish. He also finished 10th in 2008 at Indy and was the fast qualifier on the second day of time trials. Bell will make his fourth Indy 500 start on Sunday, May 30.

"Teaming up with Townsend again and the strong team of Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing gives the Herbalife team a great chance to get to the winner's circle this year," said Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson. "Townsend is a talented driver and a terrific athlete who personifies our message of living an active, healthy life. Millions of Herbalife independent distributors around the world are rooting for him."

The SSM/CGR connection was established in 2009 when Alex Lloyd drove the No. 99 to a 13th-place finish.  Sam Schmidt Motorsports has qualified nine entries in the Indy 500 since 2001 with driver Richie Hearn recording a team-high sixth in 2002.

Schmidt drove in three Indy 500 races (1997-99) before he was injured in a 2000 testing crash in Orlando, Fla.  Schmidt began Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2001.

"Bringing Herbalife on board for this year's Indy 500 is very exciting for our effort in 2010," said Schmidt, a three-time Firestone Indy Lights champion team owner. "A worldwide nutrition company such as Herbalife gives our SSM/CGR program a strong foundation to prepare a winning machine for Townsend. Again partnering with Chip's operation puts us in a position to qualify well and race for the ultimate motorsports prize, the Indianapolis 500. We have an excellent team led by Chris Griffis, and I am very proud to enter a solid effort for the Indy 500."

A special Herbalife Weight-loss Challenge has already been established among the team members throughout the month of May. The winning members in the Herbalife Challenge will receive VIP trips to Los Angeles for a variety of entertainment activities.

"Chip Ganassi Racing enjoys the long-term relationship its had with Sam Schmidt Motorsports as a result of partnering sponsors, driver talent and technical resources over the last several years," said Mike Hull, managing director of Target Chip Ganassi Racing. "The relationship Sam Schmidt Motorsports has with Herbalife and Townsend Bell furthers that continuity."


2010 Indy 500 tickets: Tickets for the 2010 Indianapolis 500, scheduled for Sunday, May 30, are on sale now. Race Day ticket prices start at just $20.

Fans can order tickets online at, call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area or visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. Online orders can be made at any time. Hours for phone orders and the ticket office are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

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