Townsend Bell says he has no expectation that his superb fourth place in the Indianapolis 500 will lead to a full-time drive.
The American has had a series of partial programs in recent seasons, and joined KV Racing for a one-off at Indy. His deal only covered the second half of the month, so he qualified 24th, but was very fast in practice and charged to fourth in the race.
While admitting that he would obviously like to be in the field more regularly, Bell said he had learned not to get his hopes up.
"My career seems to have been a series of starts and restarts for six years," he said. "But that doesn't matter, this was a great day for us.
"You're only as good as your last race, that's what they say, right? So we'll see. I've been doing it long enough to not plan or feel like I deserve anything, you just work hard and hope that things turn out. It was fun."
Bell dominated the 2001 Indy Lights championship but then struggled to regain the momentum lost in a difficult Champ Car rookie season in 2002, which saw him eventually replaced by Oriol Servia at Patrick Racing following a series of crashes. He pointed out that he had matched many of the current IndyCar stars in his junior career.
"Dan Wheldon and I raced in Indy Lights, and Scott Dixon I think was behind me, and Danica [Patrick] I've known for a while, and these are people I know I can compete with in equal equipment," he said. "I'm just thrilled that I had the chance to do that today."
KV had expanded from its usual single entry with Mario Moraes to a three-car Indianapolis team, with Bell and Paul Tracy joining the Brazilian. With the team short on resources and finances for the extra cars, it had to be creative to ensure all three were properly supported.
"Paul qualified the first weekend and I took his crew for the second week to get into the show and then we cobbled together the crew for the stops," Bell explained. "I've got to thank my engineer, Gerald Tyler, who I won the Indy Lights championship with. Been trying to figure out a way for years to work with him again and he came in the last minute to help out."
Bell then benefited from Moraes' first lap crash as the Brazilian's pit crew was transferred to his car.
"What they did was actually took his crew, which are the full-time, full-season KV guys that work together all the time and they moved some or most of those guys to my car," he said. "That made a big difference. The only bummer for us was because we qualified second week, we were way down at the end of the pitlane. I mean, damn near the end.
"We had great stops but I've got to go all the way down pitlane and give everybody in front of me a chance to pull out and block. Danica, bless her, but her rear was a little wide on pitlane, and I mean that in the nicest way..."