NASCAR & Auto Racing

Race car driver Matt Bell has a Camaro that goes 170 MPH. But he’s the slowest driver on the road.

Matt Bell has always been a stickler for nice cars and top speed.

He said when he first got his driver’s license, he was pulled over about 10 times for driving too fast.

But he didn’t know he wanted to become a race car driver until later.

“I was actually old enough to drink when I started racing,” Bell said. “I got really lucky that I had a lot of people behind me to support me and found the right opportunities and found my way in that way.”

Bell was 22 when he first started racing. Now 31, he has raced in a few NASCAR races and is competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. While NASCAR drivers drive single model cars, racers in this series race different models. You might see a Porsche, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Camaro, Mercedes, BMW or Mustang on the track.

Bell drives a Chevy Camaro GT4R, which looks similar to a normal Chevy Camaro, except it has more aerodynamic features, including dive planes on the front and a large wing on the back. It also sits lower and tops out at 170 miles per hour, he said.

“These are recognizable cars,” said Bell, who will race in the Michelin GT Challenge Aug. 25-27 at the Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va, near the VA/NC border. It’s one of the oldest tracks in the country. “These are cars that people know from the road, and when they see it on the race track it is kind of a fun true comparison between these street cars and the race cars.”

Since he’s not allowed to drive the GT4R on the streets, his everyday car is a 1986 Porsche Carrera, which he’s extra careful about driving.

Bell said he’s the slowest driver on the road. He’s gotten way too many tickets.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @jonmalexander