Daytona II: Stevenson Motorsports race report

Despite Handicap, Stevenson Pontiac Lands On Fourth Podium In A Row At Daytona The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports -- BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, has been on a tear to collect championship points in...

Despite Handicap, Stevenson Pontiac Lands On Fourth Podium In A Row At Daytona

The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports -- BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, has been on a tear to collect championship points in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season. They have racked up four consecutive podium finishes, and six out of nine, so far this season. Despite a weight adjustment mandated by Grand-Am after the Lime Rock race, they still picked up that sixth podium placing with a solid third place finish at the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

The Stevenson team has made it clear to the competition that they are in this to win the championship and will apply all the energy necessary to stay out in front. That energy comes from what the drivers do when the car is moving, and what the crew does when the car is stopped.

Andrew Davis summed up the teams expectations coming into this race. "Although we had a tremendous amount of momentum coming into The Brumos 250, our goal was to minimize the potential damage to our championship points. We knew that the Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R would be at a tremendous disadvantage on the high speed banking of Daytona International Speedway in terms of the car's ultimate top speed. However, if there is one thing the Stevenson Motorsports team has proven this year it is that we should never be counted out. We were able to keep the car out of trouble the entire race, which put us in a perfect position to capitalize on some of our competitor's misfortunes."

Qualifying for the race bore out Davis' assertion about being down on speed at Daytona to the Mazda's and Porsche's, as the best time he could muster placed the Stevenson car eighth on the starting grid. But the race isn't won on the grid. It is won on the track and, often times, in the pits.

Once the green flag fell, Davis was able to move up a few places during the first lap but the weight adjustments recently imposed by Grand-Am contributed to a deficiency in outright speed on the banking.

"We were a bit further back in qualifying than we consider normal," said Davis, "but the Bryan Mark Financial Pontiac GXP.R showed promise for the race. The start was very hectic, and I was able to take advantage of some others miscues. It was very frustrating to make up so much time in the infield portion of the track, only to see it disappear on the banking. It took some patience to let the first stint play out, but we were able to bring the car into the pits in the top five."

Davis continued, "The crew performed at an optimal level during the pit stops, helping to move the car up three positions in our final pit stop. I must say that the last pit stop was the best I have seen all year, and we were all very pumped up afterward. I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish thus far, and we are looking forward to an even stronger finish to the season."

While there are some tracks at which a specific marque enjoys some advantage, there is little dispute about the Daytona track being one of the worst tracks for the Pontiacs, with its high speed banking where excess weight is clearly a deterrent to achieving top speeds. Team Manager Mike Johnson feels that it is time for Grand-Am to take a second look at the weight imposition placed on the Pontiacs.

"The Pontiacs have all really struggled since the weight penalty after Lime Rock," Johnson said, "and with our straight line deficit at Daytona - over 10 mph - I would have taken 7th place points and never unloaded the car, so 3rd is another fantastic result. This team just continues to find ways to properly execute races and we really have some momentum. I think everyone in the paddock agrees that it's time for Grand-Am to take the percentage penalty off our car and let us go race in these last four races. Right now our strategy is just wait for everyone to make a mistake, but we want to race for results. Hopefully Grand-Am will allow us to do so shortly."

For the Brumos race, Stevenson Motorsports ran both the current No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports -- BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, and the No. 97 Corvette they campaigned in 2007. The Corvette was driven by James Gue and Jeff Bucknum. The Corvette was performing brilliantly until it collided with a disabled Mazda RX-8 sitting across the middle of a blind corner. The impact occurred with just 10 laps remaining in the race, and the damages caused the Corvette to suddenly drop down in the standings from fourth to 18th in the end. It was an awful way to end what had been a stellar performance that clearly demonstrated just how competitive the Crawford-built car still is in this series.

The Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona was the ninth race of the Rolex Series 2008 season for the GT class. It marked the seventh time the #57 Stevenson Motorsports -- BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R has finished in the top ten, and, again, the sixth time Davis and Liddell have stood on the podium.

With this third place finish, Stevenson teammates Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis have kept a grip on third place in the GT Driver's Championship The Stevenson Team also remains in third place in the GT Team Championship standings, just six points out of second.

Team owner John Stevenson assembled this dynamic team and he has witnessed a consistently cohesive and determined effort from them this season. His sentiments fully express his appreciation for what they have accomplished.

"I am extremely proud of this team." Stevenson said, "From the leadership of our team manager, Mike Johnson, the stellar performances of our drivers, Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, the Pratt and Miller Pontiac GXP-R and the excellence of our pit crew, we have proven that we are a professional team in the GT category. I would like to recognize our pit crew - Crew Chief, Michael Hoffman; Lead Technician, Chris Vallely; Technician, Grant Ford; Shop Manager and Fueler, Randy Kuyoth; Data Acquisition, Greg Jones; Engineer, Kyle Millay; Tire technician, Andy Maxwell; and our truck drivers, Dexter Johnson and Donald Wise. Our pit crew is by far the very best in Grand-Am GT and they show this excellence with their consistency race after race."

The Grand-Am series moves to Alabama for the next race, the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 20th.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , James Gue , Jeff Bucknum , Andrew Davis , Mike Johnson , John Stevenson , Michael Ho
Teams Stevenson Motorsports