For their first race in Kansas City, Matt Bell placed the No. 9 Stevenson Automotive Camaro GS.R. sixth fastest in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge qualifying.
Kansas City, Kan. (16 August 2013) - Racing isn’t a sport that is generally known to reward patience. But a little bit of patience went a long way on Friday as Stevenson Motorsports scored sixth on the grid for Saturday’s SFP Sports Car 200 after Matt Bell posted a fast lap time of 1:21.695-seconds in the No. 9 Stevenson Automotive Camaro GS.R.
The lap time came after Bell broke away from the qualifying pack to return to pit lane midway through the 15-minute session. Hanging tight for nearly two minutes, Bell returned to the fray with less than five minutes remaining. But the time investment paid immediate dividends as his first lap out was quicker than any of the times he had set in the first half of the session.
Bell continued to improve, all the way to the checkered flag.
"Ryan McCarthy (Stevenson Motorsports engineer) decided on that a kind of half cooldown was the best strategy, and it worked out really well for us,” said Bell. “The interesting thing was that the laps got faster and faster as they went. Honestly, we have been struggling. This is just not the best track for this car. The fact that we are in the top-10 and knocking on the top-five's door is unbelievable for us. And the fact that we have now gone two 10ths of a second faster than we did in practice is even more proof we are doing the right thing. So now we are throwing massive changes at the car and it's all working, which is great because it means we are working with a really good knowledge base."
"Obviously there is a big gap in time between us and our competitors that we are fighting in the championship with,” said team manager Mike Johnson. “But this year we haven't really qualified all that well but we have raced really well. Our biggest problem our last two races has been ourselves, so I think if we put together a good race we will be there and if we don't then we don't. This track isn't going to be really good for us, so we just have to make sure we finish with the best result we can possibly get."
The 2.5-hour race is set to go green Saturday at 4:00 PM (ET).