Stevenson Automotive Group won the the Porsche 250 and score a second place finish in the Porsche 200.
Birmingham, Ala – After a challenging start to the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season, Stevenson Motorsports came roaring back in Alabama.
Robin Liddell held off a hard-charging Ferrari to score a big win in the Porsche 250 on Saturday. Liddell and co-driver John Edwards had an all-star outing in the Stevenson Automotive Group Chevrolet Camaro GT.R, winning the pole and leading the most laps on the way to the win.
“It was a fantastic day,” said team manager Mike Johnson. “One position away from doing the double, so you are kind of depressed to miss it! But at the end of the day, it was the best day ever for this team.
I’m really happy for John and Susan Stevenson because this year didn’t get off to a good start so this is a great day for them and the whole team.”
Edwards opened the Rolex Series race from pole and led the opening 13 laps before turning the car over to Liddell, who emerged from a pivotal pit stop that saw the Stevenson crew leap to the lead with fast pit work.
Pacing the final 27 circuits of the 2.3-mile track, Liddell had to fend off the final charge of a very fast Ferrari, but the flying Briton made the most of the traffic to hold on to the point and score the victory by just over one second after two hours of racing.
“I’m awfully proud of my guys after two disappointing races this season,” said team owner John Stevenson. “But you know we don’t give up. We just regrouped, we’ve got an outstanding group and MJ (Mike Johnson) does a great job on the box. That second pit stop was unreal.
Obviously, Robin and John did a great job. We were able to stay in front of the Ferraris which is a difficult thing to do! I’m really proud of my guys today.”
“We didn’t expect this,” said Johnson. “We thought the Ferraris would be strong and I think the long green flag runs helped us with how strong and consistent our drivers are. That second pit stop, we came out first, and that was it. Robin was so much better in traffic and brought home the win.”
“I think the testing that we did here in November helped us quite a lot,” said Liddell. “Or helped me at least just being able to go out and get into the groove straight away. The car felt good.
The track has improved quite a lot from our point of view. Although there is some fall off in the tire degradation it’s not as bad as it used to be so it’s definitely a step forward.
That is a credit to the team here at the track for dealing with that and the Continental Tire guys. Obviously, John (Edwards) as usual did a good job, got the car on pole, drove a really good stint and really I think it came down to the guys in the pits.
All in all very happy, I must say I wasn’t expecting to come out of here with a win. I really thought we were going to have a tough time this weekend. Very happy for all the team and everybody else at Stevenson and Chevrolet.”
The second race of the day once again saw the Stevenson Camaro play a key role in the race, as Edwards led 18 laps, and was in a strong position with just over half an hour to go.
Ultimately Edwards wasn’t able to fend off the championship-leading team for the win, but a sternly defended run to second place will see the team moving in the right direction for some championship momentum.
“The elusive double win! I hate to be depressed about being second, but I just made a rookie mistake and missed a shift and that let him by,” said Edwards of the lead change. “A great effort from the team today.”
“Not enough can be said about the Stevenson team,” said Bell, who started the race from seventh on the grid. “The team kept making the car better and better. We didn’t have a second place car when this race started, so to come away with this finish is really impressive. Great drive from John and now on to Road Atlanta!”