Edwards and co-driver Robin Liddell had dominated the GT class in the previous two rounds at Barber Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta.
Detroit, Mich. – Stevenson Motorsports continued to make history on Saturday, taking a dramatic victory in the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 to score the teams third consecutive Rolex Sports Car Series victory.
Edwards and co-driver Robin Liddell had dominated the GT class in the previous two rounds at Barber Motorsports Park and Road Atlanta and continued that winning streak at Belle Isle – leading 27 laps en route to the win.
Liddell, who usually closes out each race for Stevenson Motorsports, opened the two-hour sprint event from fifth on the grid and immediately began to make his way forward, moving up to the third position in the opening stages of the race.
He ran among the top-three when the team took advantage of a full course caution and brought the No. 57 Stevenson Camaro to pit road for a routine pit stop and driver change.
The team hit their marks with a perfect pit stop and Edwards emerged from pit lane with the race lead, and the young American never ceded the spot despite immense pressure.
“Three in a row is awesome, but this one is all to the guys who did that pit stop,” said team manager Mike Johnson. “One of the most important pit stops of the season right there and for those guys to hit is absolutely perfectly—to get us in, get us out, get us in the lead. We knew that that was going to be the race and it was. So really, all the credit goes to the guys who go over the wall.”
A late-race caution slowed the race and created a nine-minute sprint to the finish. Though the two attacking Ferraris posted faster race laps than the Camaro, Edwards exploited the segments where the Camaro was strongest and held off the charging Ferraris in the final four laps to take the victory in Chevy’s home race. “It feels pretty great!” exclaimed Edwards from victory lane.
“We’re in Detroit - Chevy’s home - and not only did we win in GT but they also won in DP so it’s a great day for Chevy. The end there was really tough during the long caution. I was perfectly happy to sit there and let the laps wind down because I knew the Ferraris were going to be pressuring us there at the end.
I think we were a lot quicker to bring our tires up to temp, but they were better at the end of the run so I was thankful that we didn’t have a very long run to the end because I know it was going to be a very hard and defensive run to the end.”
“Three wins in a row!” added an enthused Liddell. “I don’t think we’ve ever gone through that before in this class of racing at this level. We’ve been talking about letting John (Edwards) finish a race for a while. It just made sense to do that on a weekend with no Continental race.
We had a difficult weekend—tapped the wall in practice and didn’t qualify too well, so we were just playing recovery. But in the race, the car was good. Once again the guys did a fantastic job, good strategy jumped ahead to get in the lead on the pit stop from second.
It was just a brilliant job from the Stevenson guys. I’m really happy to win for Chevy here in Detroit. And Mark Ruess—the GM Worldwide President— was sitting here in our pit box, so pretty awesome stuff!”
The result moved Stevenson Motorsports up to second in the championship – just five points shy of the lead as the team next travels to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
“We weren’t the fastest the last two races and still got the win, and obviously the Ferraris were much quicker than us here today, but that’s not what it’s all about,” said team owner John Stevenson. “We had good strategy and good drivers, and the guys did a great job, and Mike (Johnson) did a great job on the box.
Robin’s always awesome and John Eddy did a great job and closed the door and we got us three in a row! We’re sure going to try to make it four in a row at Mid-Ohio, you know that!”
Stevenson Motorsports will travel to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in two weeks as GRAND-AM stages Round 6 of the Rolex Series and also returns to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race action with the No. 9 Camaro GS.R for Round 5 of the championship June 13-15.