SCC: VIR: Stevenson Motorsports preview

Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco Camaro Takes To The Track KONI Challenge entry, to be driven by Donohue And Bucknum, is tested at Kershaw "I felt like a little kid in a candy store as I watched the Stevenson Motorsports crew unload the Camaro at...

Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco Camaro Takes To The Track

KONI Challenge entry, to be driven by Donohue And Bucknum, is tested at Kershaw

"I felt like a little kid in a candy store as I watched the Stevenson Motorsports crew unload the Camaro at the Kershaw racetrack yesterday morning."

Those were the words of Jeff Bucknum, son of legendary racer Ronnie Bucknum, as the Stevenson Motorsports team unveiled the brand new 2010 Camaro built by Riley Technologies of Mooresville, North Carolina, at Carolina Motorsports Park on Monday. The car had just been delivered to the team and they were finally going to get to put it through its paces in preparation for its first race coming up this weekend.

Bucknum: "It was very exciting for me to be the first person to turn a wheel in the new Koni Camaro race car. We had all the best people from Riley Technologies and Stevenson Motorsports at the track helping to sort out any small problems we had during our shakedown test. Its always fun to drive new cars and new race tracks so yesterday I had double the fun because both the race track and the race car were brand new for me. It didn't take long for me to get comfortable with the car or the track and start working on the balance of the car."

Stevenson Team Manager Mike Johnson was very pleased with this first test of the new car that will start its racing life just a few days from now at the season ending KONI Challenge Bosch Engineering Octoberfest race at Virginia International Raceway. The car will be driven by Jeff Bucknum and David Donohue.

Johnson: "I am very pleased with how well the car ran straight out of the box. Bill Riley and his crew did an excellent job with the car and it was able to attain competitive lap times right away. With any new car there are always some issues and we had a few today, but nothing that will stop us from running at VIR this weekend. We completed about 35 laps in perfect 80 degree weather. We fought some high oil temps and normal shakedown issues with a new car, but we were able to put down some good laps.

"We could only run 4-5 laps at a time since we could not control our oil temperature, but we have the fix on the way, so we should be good for VIR. The car seemed to be very receptive to small changes which is a good sign and we were really gaining speed at the end of the day when we had to stop early due to a throttle issue."

Bob and Bill Riley were on hand for the test and Bill came away pleased with how well their new baby performed.

"For a shakedown of a brand new car I have to say the test went very well. The car seemed to be quick. It was a short day and there are a couple of issues we need to go through. But we do have fixes for those issues and the car will be in our shop on Thursday so we can take care of the updates. The car will be ready to go at VIR. I think it showed a lot of promise and I expect it will be a good car for the team."

The Stevenson team competes in the Grand-Am Rolex Series with a Pontiac GXP.R. The VIR event will mark their first foray into the Grand-Am KONI Challenge. Johnson noted there is a learning curve that comes with moving to a new series.

"It's very hard going from a very competitive GT situation to KONI, since you are always looking at the car and saying, 'let's just move that, and change that, and we could fix this,' but of course none of that is legal since we have to run a stock car in the KONI Challenge."

While many other 'stock' cars have come into the KONI Challenge series before, the Stevenson Camaro is unique because of the history behind the car's sponsor and the drivers.

In 1969, Team Owner Roger Penske, and his drivers Mark Donohue and Ronnie Bucknum, teamed up to bring home the SCCA Trans-Am Championship for Chevrolet. They drove 1969 Camaros that year, with the dark blue cars sponsored by Sunoco. This year, exactly 40 years after that championship season, another pair of drivers named Donohue and Bucknum will once again race in a Camaro wearing Sunoco blue colors.

David Donohue is the son of Mark Donohue. Jeff Bucknum is the son of Ronnie Bucknum.

Jeff Bucknum clearly understands and appreciates the irony of this situation. "I am so excited to be a part of a program that brings so much history together in today's sports car racing. I am really looking forward to racing the Camaro this weekend at VIR with David Donohue and representing the Sunoco Camaro Stevenson Motorsports Koni GS car in a livery that resembles mine and David's dad's 1969 Trans-Am car.

"I am sure the fans are going to love the way the new Sunoco Camaro car looks! I am sure this car will bring a whole bunch of attention and quickly become a fan favorite. It's very hard to say how competitive David and I will be at VIR, but I have no doubt this car will win many races in its future."

Johnson: "The 69 Sunoco-Camaro is one of the most recognized race cars in the world and to be a part of its return is truly special. Having Donohue and Bucknum behind the wheel is really a once in a lifetime opportunity. I think it's a real honor for all of us at Stevenson Motorsports to be a part of the Sunoco Camaro Heritage and I can't wait to see how competitive we really are."

The Grand-Am KONI Challenge Bosch Engineering Octoberfest race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) will take place on Sunday, October 4.

-credit: sm

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Donohue , Jeff Bucknum , Mike Johnson , Roger Penske , Mark Donohue
Teams Stevenson Motorsports