Kansas City, Kan. (17 August 2013) – Just hours after taking a big win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race with the team’s Chevrolet Camaro GS.R, the team was back in Rolex Series Sports Car action at Kansas Speedway.
The SFP Grand Prix marked Round 10 of the 2013 GRAND-AM championship, and with a hard-earned run to fourth place, the team is hoping that the result is another positive step towards a run to the championship title.
Edwards started the race from fourth on the grid, and after taking advantage of a spinning DP to jump to the lead early, settled in to run in podium position in the opening stages. A pit stop for a driver change saw the team looking to make a wicker change at the back of the car to provide more stability on the high-speed oval.
Unfortunately, a complication with installing the wicker saw the pit stop go longer than planned as Liddell returned to the track back in eighth place on lap 30. A subsequent pit stop where the team elected to skip the tire change helped to claw back track position as the car moved up to run as high as second.
"It was a decent day, I'm not entirely sure what the points look like now, but at least it's up to us,” said team manager Mike Johnson. “If we perform the way we are capable of performing, we can win the championship and no one can stop us. But if we mess up, then it is our own fault. It is really up to us. We aren’t looking back at this race at all—we are 100% focused on Laguna and we will have to have a great effort there.
"It was a really busy day, but that is normal,” said Edwards after running both races and doing two stints in the Rolex event. “We are not ecstatic about fourth place, but based on where we were in practice and qualifying I think we can be really pleased with this result and making up points in the championship on the leader. Now it's very clearly a three car fight, so it's going to be tough. But we are going to one track that has favored us at Lime Rock and another that hasn't favored us quite as much at Laguna Seca. But as we saw this weekend, this wasn't our track and we still came away making up points on the championship leader so we can just keep pushing hard."
"We tried to fit a rear gurney during the pit stop, but it went horribly wrong and we ended up losing five or six spots. So we rode around seventh or eighth for a bit and weren't really in a position to gain spots at that point once all the faster guys were in the cars. We kind of knew all weekend we were going to have a car we were going to struggle with. So overall it's been a tough weekend but to come away with fourth we are really happy to close the gap with points. It could have been a lot worse. I'm not ecstatic for how the weekend went but at the end of the day it was a fair result under the circumstances."
While the team had been hoping to score a second podium result on the day, the fourth place finish, coupled with some bad racing luck for the championship-leading machine, has Stevenson Motorsports currently just three points out of the provisional points lead with two big races to go.
The team will be back in action at Laguna Seca September 7-8.