Bell and Bucknum Break Through to Take Sunoco Camaro to the Podium at VIR Danville, VA (24 April 2010) - Matt Bell returned to the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge podium at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday afternoon as...
Bell and Bucknum Break Through to Take Sunoco Camaro to the Podium at VIR
Danville, VA (24 April 2010) - Matt Bell returned to the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge podium at Virginia International Raceway on Saturday afternoon as he and co-driver Jeff Bucknum scored a second place finish in the Bosch 200 with the the No. 6 Sunoco Fuels Camaro for Stevenson Motorsports after the weekend got off to a fraught start.
The result marked the debut podium for the newest piece of American iron to contest the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, and was also an impressive improvement from the duo's previous best finish of fifth with the Camaro. The race result seemed to be an improbable one, as the effort suffered from two lost motors during the race weekend. But very hard work from the Stevenson Motorsports crew saw Bell and Bucknum ready to go on the grid for Saturday's 2.5-hour race.
With all his pole position qualifying efforts, Bell has a lot of experience starting up front, but on Saturday the race started with the iconic blue machine at the back of the bus after the motor changes forced the team to miss qualifying. But Bell just put his head down as he moved the car through the pack, which comprised nearly sixty cars on the combined-class field, and turned the car over to Bucknum in fourth.
Bucknum fought traffic and managed the fuel strategy as best he could, but a run to a debut victory fell just short in the closing moments of the race. But the hard-fought finish and tremendous weekend effort from the team made the champagne spray for the runner-up spot all the the more sweet for Bell.
"It was a magical setup, really," said Bell. "The car had a big push, but the track really turned everything loose so we were perfectly neutral and I just tried to make the most of it. We had good braking as well and that was important for getting through the field. I just did my job to make sure the car came in clean and make as short a fuel stop as possible. Jeff did an amazing job. He got the car and just ran away with it. We led the race for a little while, but couldn't hold on to it - just ran out of gas like everybody else did. It feels great to get back on the podium, especially after all the effort that the team put into this weekend so hopefully we can build on this again at Lime Rock."