Bell and Bucknum Finish 14th at Barber Motorsports Park Leeds, AL (12 April 2010) - Matt Bell and Jeff Buknum finished the Barber 200 in 14th place on Saturday afternoon with the No. 6 Sunoco Fuels Camaro campaigned by Stevenson Motorsports....
Bell and Bucknum Finish 14th at Barber Motorsports Park
Leeds, AL (12 April 2010) - Matt Bell and Jeff Buknum finished the Barber 200 in 14th place on Saturday afternoon with the No. 6 Sunoco Fuels Camaro campaigned by Stevenson Motorsports. Ford Mustangs finished the race 1-2, with a BMW scoring 3rd place in the event, which marked round three of the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.
The result was a disappointing outcome for Bell, who qualified the machine seventh on the 62-car grid. Bell raced as high as fifth before turning the car over to co-driver Buknum, but their race outing was hampered when a small pit lane procedural penalty cost co-driver Bucknum a return to the pit lane to serve the penalty before he charged home to finish 14th after 2.5 hours of racing on the natural terrain road circuit outside of Birmingham.
The duo had been looking to match an impressive season-opening run to fifth place, but with the current regulations that are in place, the platform has yet to see a return to top-five results. The young Californian hot shoe, who emerged from the pack with his record-setting, pole-winning qualifying performances last season, knows that no matter what he and the Stevenson Motorsports guys do, it might not be entirely up to them about how the results look.
"The car is at a point where we can run where we qualify, but we can not move up because we just don't have the pace at this point," said Bell. "The platform just isn't on the same level as the rest of the field with the regulations as they are. We are losing time and reliability with the transmission right now, but we are still locked in the box in terms of being able to have a different solution for that. Hopefully something will change soon because this car has a lot of potential, but it's just not able to show it yet."
The series, which faces a tough challenge in creating maximum parity in a field that has entries that range from turbocharged four-wheel drive machines to lightweight German entries to V8-powered American machines, has continued to work to find a balance, but so far that balance has not included the Camaro, which is competing in its first full season of Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
"I'm driving as hard or harder than I did last year, but with this platform right now, the results just don't show that," said Bell. "It's very frustrating. Since moving to Stevenson Motorsports, I've been very impressed with the team-preparation, race day execution, and the atmosphere is all very strong. We just need the chance to come home with some stronger results and hopefully we can start doing that at VIR. The team has raced the Camaro there before, so we will at least have some data to start the weekend with."
The No. 6 entry is currently 15th in the overall team championship with six rounds of competition remaining.