Tuesday April 19, 2011
Stevenson Camaro Flashes Brilliantly But Time Extinguishes The Flame
After third top three qualifying position in a row, caution periods run long and time runs out for a final charge to a podium placing
Matt Bell and John Edwards raced the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GS.R as hard as they could at the third race of the 2011 season of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge – at Barber Motorsports Park – but the laps spent running under yellow flag conditions burned up their opportunities to finish higher than fifth place.
After Matt Bell landed his third top three qualifying spot in a row this season the team was sure they had their MOJO working at this beautiful race circuit in Alabama. They did for sure at first, but apparently even MOJO has to slow down when the officials declare a yellow caution period.
Team Manager Mike Johnson: “Matt did another great job in qualifying, scoring his third top three placing in a row. Well, as (team owner) Johnny (Stevenson) said after qualifying, we finally got our MOJO back. In the end though, fifth was a good result for the team, but I think it's a race we could have won since we finally had the car that could do it.”
Bell feels this team is always learning more about the Camaro with every race effort and he credits the team with their commitment to continuously improving their on-track performance.
“I think it is a sign of an excellent development program when every single day we are learning something.” Bell said. ”Every day is a school day for the Stevenson Motorsports team. I know that no one on this team will ever back down from the challenge of improving.”
Bell thought the team’s chances were good but sometimes when you roll the dice you lose.
Bell: “This was a race we could have won but a gamble that should have paid off just didn’t pay off this time. I think it was a high percentage gamble but we got caught out this time.”
Johnson, noted for his strength in developing winning race strategies, had one decision backfire when circumstances put the Stevenson Camaro on a yellow pace for much longer than he had anticipated.
Johnson: “About halfway through the race, we decided to stay out for track position when our competitors pitted under yellow, but the yellow lasted much longer than expected so we had to come in for fuel which dropped us to the very back. When we got back in the race, John did a great job getting through the pack, but we had a few more yellows at the end and simply ran out of time.”
Edwards: “We ran really well today. Unfortunately, the guys who gambled with fuel strategy had it pay off, so we fell back in the middle of the race, but the car was very fast and we charged back through the field to come home with a solid top five finish.”
Johnson comes away from this race with a renewed sense of the possibilities that lie ahead for this determined team.
Johnson: “This team and car seems to have flashes of brilliance every once and a while, but we never seem to get any momentum. Hopefully this finish will be the first step in a long run of good finishes."
Edwards agreed when he said, “I'm happy with our finish under the circumstances, but I know we easily had podium potential if things had fallen correctly. We'll be back just as strong at VIR!”
Bell too is looking forward to the VIR round.
“I think we are going to do well there.” Bell noted, “We have tested there and, in fact, the GS program started there. I love that track and I think it suits the Camaro well enough for us to come away having done a really good job.”
The next race weekend in the 2011 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge 10 race schedule takes place May 14th at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Virginia.
More information about the Stevenson Motorsports team, and the new Stevenson performance shop, can be found on Facebook/Stevenson-motorsports.com.
For more information on the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, go to www.GRAND-AM.com
Stevenson Motorsports operates out of a facility located in Jacksonville, North Carolina.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Garrett Horton.
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