Sam Schmidt/Ganassi Racing

For the second consecutive year, Sam Schmidt Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing will team up to compete in the Indianapolis 500.

The No. 99 SSM/CGR entry will be driven by IZOD IndyCar Series veteran Townsend Bell of San Luis Obispo, Calif.

Bell, the 2001 Indy Lights champion, will seek to make his fourth start in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” His best finish was fourth in 2009, giving KV Racing Technology its highest finish ever in the race. In ’08, Bell was quickest on the second day of four-lap qualifications with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. He went on to finish 10th.

“I’m excited to be able to confirm my plans for the Indy 500 so early in the year,” said Bell, who has made 20 IZOD IndyCar Series starts. “To be competing with Sam Schmidt gives me a lot of confidence heading into May. I couldn’t be in a better position. I have to thank Sam for his efforts to pull this together. I’m looking forward to working with everyone to produce a great result with a fast car.”

Opening Day is May 15, with Pole Day scheduled for May 22. The race is May 30.

“Our relationship with Sam Schmidt Motorsports has defined very clearly the positive aspects of partnership,” Target Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull said. “We’ve helped each other to provide value on all levels and thereby creating a mutually beneficial relationship that makes opportunities like this very seamless and smooth.”

In 2009, the teams joined forces with Alex Lloyd behind the wheel. Lloyd, the 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, was the final driver to crack the top 11 spots available on Pole Day. He finished 13th in his second ‘500.’

“Winning Indy is clearly a lifetime dream,” team owner Sam Schmidt said. “Last year I said that our effort was our best chance yet to drink milk in Victory Lane and I have to say that again going into this year’s race. To be partnered with an organization of the caliber of Chip Ganassi Racing speaks for itself. We’re especially excited about Townsend driving the car because he’s always run really well at the track.

“He took a limited opportunity last year and parlayed it into a top-five finish, and we’re hoping with the combined resources we’re providing him in a top-flight program we can all share in a victory celebration come May 30th.”

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