Stevenson Soars to the Podium at Lime Rock Park

stevenson_logo_transparent.1.1.18e5282e9-3eca-426e-afc6-3b66e9c480fcLakeville, Conn. (25 May 2014) – After a rained out qualifying session forced the brother Stevenson Camaro Z/28.R entries to start from the middle of the pack, both Chevrolets fought back to bring home a double top-10 result for the team in the fourth round of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Lime Rock Park, including the first podium of the season for the No. 9 Stevenson Camaro Z/28.R.

The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis started the race from 10th with the brother No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R of Matt Bell and Andy Lally just behind in 11th as the grid was set by points.

3e34d910-ce9d-4d0a-b355-001a62adbc60Davis took the green flag under unexpectedly clear conditions for the No. 6 car with Bell right behind in the No. 9. Solid race pace saw both cars consistently work their way up the field as the two teammates worked together through the opening stint.

Traffic kept Davis and Bell from making more forward progress, but ultimately an incident just ahead of the two allowed them to gain position and steer clear of slower traffic for the remainder of their stints.

After Bell piloted the No. 9 up to third place with the No. 6 not far behind in fifth, both cars pitted for a full service of tires, fuel and driver change at the 1-hour mark. Thanks to excellent work by the crew, the team cycled back out into the field in almost exactly the same positions in which they started the race, prepared to run to the front again.

92356c35-1d0c-4701-a7e2-2eee6d46ce72With Liddell steering the No. 6 and Lally behind the wheel of the No. 9, the 2.5-hour race featured only one full-course caution which fell with just one hour remaining.

When the yellow was displayed, the No. 9 car of Andy Lally was at the tail end of the lead lap. Stevenson Motorsports called him to pit lane when the pits opened and the No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R received four new Continental Tires and returned to the track in fifth position.

The No. 6 Camaro Z/28.R was a lap down at the time of the caution and a quick strategy call from Stevenson Motorsports saw Liddell stay out and receive the ‘wave around’ and return to the lead lap. But the short yellow period did not provide enough time for a full service pit stop with fresh tires and so Stevenson fueled the car and sent it back out with Liddell just barely returning to the track before the pace car came back around.

c0923b05-3733-46b8-a946-8544547bf864The last half hour of the race saw the sky threatening rain and Liddell and Lally carefully and steadily progressed up the through the pack. An exciting battle in the final minutes of the race saw the experienced Lally navigate the No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R to his first podium of the year with co-driver Bell and the Stevenson Motorsports squad.

“We struggled in the first half of the race, we kind of got stuck behind some Mustangs and couldn’t go anywhere,” said Team Manager, Mike Johnson. “Then everyone pitted under green and our stops weren’t quite as good as they have been in the past so we lost just a little bit of time there. But the cars were running better and we got really lucky with that yellow. We had one car almost a lap down and another one that was right at a lap down so we were fortunate to get the wave-by. And a lot of the cars that took the wave-by took tires and we didn’t, so since we didn’t do that we didn’t get stuck behind the pace car and that kind of secured our fate. Andy did a great job, he passed two cars and went from fifth to third in that final stint and that’s the best finish of the year so far for the No. 9 car so I’m happy, although we still have some work to do.”

The Stevenson Motorsports team now looks forward to a short break in action before they head to Kansas Speedway for Round 5 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge on June 6-7.

Driver Quoteboard:
Andy Lally, No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R – “It was quite a battle out there. As usual in any Continental Tire Championship series there is always a battle for the win. Especially here at Lime Rock, and to get on the podium here is an accomplishment regardless. For me it is an honor to get my first podium with Stevenson Motorsports and this Camaro Z/28.R. I have to hand it to the crew for doing great pit stops and my teammate for having a great first stint. When it is a race like today and there is only one yellow, it really does come down to teamwork and what every single person has done on the team. And honestly, that is where Stevenson Motorsports shines and they will always end up on the podium because they are that good. So I just got to be the guy to take it home and finish it and have a really fun battle there at the end with Buford and Hindman, so it was a good race.”

Matt Bell, No 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R – “I had no radio during my stint, so that was tough. It is one of those little gremlins that you just can’t plan for. We have worked with this radio system for some time without that problem and then today it failed on the grid. I was in the car and did a radio check and there was no heartbeat, so that was tough to deal with because we had a kind of complex strategy that we didn’t really get to play out. We did okay. Andrew (Davis) and I both got tangled in some traffic and there isn’t really much you can do about that except just help your teammate out as much as you can. The car was really good up until about 2/3 into my stint. It was frustrating because the pack ahead of us was holding us up and the Subaru is fast everywhere we aren’t, so he was able to get by both of us but then he had a crash when he tried to pass Andrew. But honestly, the car felt great and it would have been better if we had been on our own, but that isn’t how it works. But the team did great, this wasn’t going to be our best track but we did well so I’m happy.”

Andrew Davis, No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R – “Obviously we were just disappointed that since qualifying was rained out we had to start back in 10th, so Matt (Bell) and I were 10th and 11th and at this track in particular where there is really only one passing zone it makes it really difficult. The way our car is set up and the rules right now we just don’t have the power down the straights, so I was just kind of stuck nose to tail most of the time until there was an accident in front of me that cleared the way. So it was a bit disappointing during my stint because it would have been nice to run up in the front. It was a hard fought first stint for sure, and then Robin (Liddell) did a great job during his stint to get the car up to where it finished.”

Robin Liddell, No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R – “When I got in the car we had a slightly slow stop, got a wheel nut stuck or something, but ultimately that didn’t cost us that much time. Ultimately the car was really good over the stint. We worked really hard to make sure the car was consistent in lap times and then because we were a lap down at the next pit stop we didn’t take tires, so we got the wave-by and ultimately that was the right decision. But also obviously not having tires on the car we weren’t going to go any faster. But I was able to hold a good pace for the rest of the stint, so I ran about an hour and 40 minutes on the tires. I was very happy with the team and the car. The crew did a good job and the car was very consistent over a stint so I was happy with that. I think this was the best we could have done, so it is unfortunate that we ended up eighth, but that is the way it played out and from the beginning that was basically where we were going to end up so I think it’s a good result.”