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Saanich sports car driver qualifies for Indy, and then some during Denver races

Bill Okell chalks up a first and a second, needing only to complete 50 per cent of laps
Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors Tour second-place finisher Jerry Olsen, left, joins H Production class race winner Bill Okell on the podium at High Plains Raceway near Denver on Aug. 22. (Photo courtesy Bill Okell/Colorado Region SCCA)

All Bill Okell needed to do to earn a ticket back to Indianapolis was finish half of the leaders’ laps in two Sports Car Club of America U.S. Majors Tour races on a recent weekend outside Denver.

But true to his competitive spirit, the veteran Saanich driver went all out once he got behind the wheel of his MG Midget at High Plains Raceway, Aug. 21 and 22.

Not only did he easily accomplish the lap requirement to qualify for the upcoming SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Okell followed up a second-place finish in the nine-lap Saturday race with a victory on Sunday in the 18-lap H Production class race.

“It really was a bonus day for us,” said Okell, for whom the race win was his fifth across seven seasons competing on the U.S. Majors Tour. Reminded more than once by crew chief Joe Carr of the goal for the weekend – ‘nine is the magic number’ – Okell found himself with open track ahead before the halfway point and pushed for the win the rest of the way.

“Once you put that helmet on you become a different individual,” he said of putting the modest objective in his back pocket and focusing on racing.

While his team’s mandate was preserving the health of the car and ensuring few repairs might be needed before Indy, there’ll be no such modest goals when Okell heads to the nationals, set for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3.

It’ll be all out when the green flag drops Oct. 1 and he faces off against 43 other drivers looking to capture the checkered flag, he said.

Follow Okell’s progress and the rest of the results at

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