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World Challenge GTS - Brown/Bell Sonoma Race Preview

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SONOMA, Aug. 23, 2012: Justin Bell would like nothing better than to put Paul Brown/Tiger Racing’s eBay Motors No. 50 Ford Mustang Boss 302S on the podium on Saturday in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Sonoma.

The road course, which used to be known as Sears Point Raceway and later Infineon Raceway, is about 76 miles from the corporate headquarters of the team’s primary sponsor, eBay Motors. A part of eBay Inc., eBay Motors is the Internet’s largest marketplace for buying and selling all things automotive. It will be very visible at the event, and many of its guests plan to attend Saturday’s race to cheer for their car.

The GTS class will have just one race at Sonoma this year, which is slated for noon local time (3 p.m. Eastern) on Saturday. Team owner/driver Paul Brown of Covina, Calif. led both of the GTS races held here last year and finished second in them both too. The Pirelli World Challenge portion of the weekend is called the Cadillac Grand Prix of Sonoma. It supports the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma IZOD IndyCar Series race on Sunday afternoon.

“Sonoma has been a good track for us in the past,” noted Brown, the defending class champion. “Our big goal is to finish the season out strong with another podium, and support eBay Motors.”

“The track is so close to eBay headquarters that we should have quite a few guests here,” noted Bell, of Los Angeles. “Having them here will be a boost to the whole team.”

A special autograph session is planned for the eBay corporate display in the main paddock area at the track at 9:30 a.m. local time Saturday morning so fans can meet Bell, Brown and Brown’s father, Mustang legend Kenny Brown, who won an Escort Endurance Series race here in the past. Kenny Brown Performance is also a primary sponsor of the team, and participates in a technology-transfer program with it that helps both entities.

The series will host another autograph session after the race too, at 2 p.m. local time.

Special promotions are planned for the eBay display all weekend long. One of them is a scan-to-win promotion with prizes of behind-the-scenes access to the team and additional promotional items. Winners may even get the opportunity to sit in the eBay Motors No. 50.

The eBay Motors No. 50 Mustang Pirelli World Challenge car was one of five race cars on display at eBay’s corporate headquarters last week.

“It was a great event!” Bell said. “It was the perfect chance for all of the employees to see first-hand what the eBay Motors sponsorship is doing. All five race cars in each category and their drivers were there. It was a lot of fun, and the depth of passion that was shown makes you realize why the eBay Motors team is rocking the Web world.”

Other people who are expected to be on hand at Sonoma this weekend with the Paul Brown/Tiger Racing team include guests of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. “We hope to have about 20 guests from the foundation on hand too, which will be a great turnout,” Bell said. “It always humbles and motivates me to have them along. It’s time for us to win again for them!”

Bell loves this track.

“It’s really designed for drivers that enjoy an old-school, fast, tough race track,” he said.

The 1.99-mile, 11-turn road course reflects some changes this year. Turn 9 has been widened by 10 feet and Turn 11 has been lengthened. The inner turn is being used at the back hairpin in place of the chute, too. All of these changes were made to offer more opportunities for passing, so the action should be even more fast and furious than it has been in the past.

After a 30-minute practice session today at 4 p.m. local time, qualifying will be held at 1 p.m. (4 p.m. Eastern) on Friday to set the grid for Saturday’s race at noon (3 p.m. Eastern).