Rice & Bell land Indy 500 rides

UPDATE This Robin Miller article from May 4th is updated to confirm that Lazier and Bell have indeed been confirmed with Indy 500 rides and Robin still tells us Rice will be in Sam Schmidt's third car.

05/04/13 Suddenly, the prospect of bumping at the Indianapolis 500 is looking better.

SPEED.com reports that 2004 Indy winner Buddy Rice and veteran Townsend Bell have locked up rides for the May 26th classic.

Rice, who's last Indy start came in 2011 when he qualified seventh for Panther Racing, is lined up to be the third car in Sam Schmidt’s stable, which already includes Simon Pagenaud and rookie Tristan Vautier.

That seat appeared to be Bell’s a couple weeks ago after he secured sponsorship from the DreamWorks' Indy 500-themed movie, Turbo, which will be out this summer.

But, because Schmidt is a Honda team and Chevrolet has a partnership with DreamWorks, the 38-year-old Californian and NBC Sports Network analyst made a deal to be teammates with J.R. Hildebrand at Panther.

Bell finished ninth last year for Schmidt, qualified fourth fastest in 2011 and ran fourth in 2009 while Rice gave Honda its initial Indy triumph.

Neither Rice or Bell, who was flying to Indianapolis to telecast the Brazil IndyCar race on Sunday, could be reached for comment. Bell’s deal, however, is expected to be announced this weekend.

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