Throttle Sticks, Taking Stevenson Corvette Out At Barber The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Reserves, Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama marked the return of the newly refurbished -- but...
Throttle Sticks, Taking Stevenson Corvette Out At Barber
The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Reserves, Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama marked the return of the newly refurbished -- but almost naked - #57 Stevenson Motorsports Corvette.
Driven by Marc Bunting and Dominic Cicero II, the #57 Corvette was placed 15th on the starting grid. To have made it to this race in and of itself was nothing short of miraculous, as the Stevenson crew had to scramble mightily to restore the car to race-ready condition after the accident at Iowa Speedway just one week ago.
The determined members of the Stevenson team put in long hours to get the car in running order. But there simply was no time left to finish applying the full the red, white and blue paint scheme across the entire car so the color white was dominant for this race.
At the last practice session the nearly all-white race car was able to pull down 13th best time, just 1.7 miles per hour off the pace of the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP-R. But the race pace was halted far too soon -- and far too violently - for the Stevenson Corvette. And the hot Alabama sun certainly didn't make the laps that were completed any laps of luxury.
Bunting noted the Alabama heat was far from enjoyable but he commended the team for making his ride a bit more bearable.
"The car was hot but the crew has done a great job at improving the air flow inside the car."
Earlier, and despite the heat, Bunting was in quite an interesting tussle with the MCM Pontiac GTO-R driven by Shawn Price. Bunting hounded Price lap after lap looking for a way to get by.
"The GTO has better mechanical grip than our Corvette. I could have passed him but he was very determined to defend his position. I simply did not want to force the issue that early in the race."
Finally Price peeled away to enter the pits, giving Bunting a clear path on which to advance. But his movement forward would soon be forgotten.
On lap 52, Cicero, who had just taken over the driving chores from Bunting, went in way too hot into the first corner as the throttle stuck. Unable to slow the car, Cicero went straight off the road, across the gravel trap and he crashed hard into the retaining wall.
Cicero: "The throttle stuck at about 65 % of its travel distance. The problem wasn't because of the massive work done on the car after the race in Iowa. The throttle has done that at times in the past. It feels somewhat like a tennis ball is under the pedal and this time it just stuck open.
The car was damaged and had to be towed back to the paddock. "It was flattened in front. I don't think the chassis was severely damaged. I am certainly glad all the safety aspects of the Crawford-built chassis worked as they should and helped to lessen the impact. "
Cicero was taken to the track medical center where x-rays were taken of his neck. No serious injuries were reported. "I got my bell rung! I have been really sore and I had a little concussion. I've found that I'd been forgetting things and kind of in a fog, but I am already back in training and looking forward to testing and focusing on our next race at Miller. "
The Stevenson Motorsports team will not be traveling to Canada for the next round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series. They will next appear on track at the SUNCHASER 1000 at Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah on September 15th. At that race, the #57 Stevenson Corvette will be sporting a new paint scheme.
Cicero: "The car is being redesigned with a new and improved American theme and style. The American made car should be all ready to show itself proudly at Miller. And I think the fans will say it looks great!"