Birmingham, Ala. – Stevenson Motorsports driver John Edwards posted the quickest lap time during Friday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Series qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park to put the No. 57 Camaro on the pole for Saturday’s Porsche 250 event.
Edwards stood atop the time sheets with a quick lap time of 1:26.610-seconds. The effort marks the 11th Rolex Series GT Class pole for Stevenson, and the team's first of the 2013 GRAND-AM season.
“I think we rolled off with a pretty good car,” said Edwards, who will share driving duties in the No. 57 with Robin Liddell. “We’ve got some things to improve on the balance but we’re really looking good for the race I think.
So we’ll see. Boris (Said) is close and I’m sure the Ferraris are a bit better than what they showed in qualifying especially once the finishing guys get in. So it’s going to be tight but we’re in a good spot to start off.”
The Barber Motorsports Park area experienced unseasonably cool temperatures as well as rain for Thursday’s practice day, but despite the 15-minute qualifying session being the first session of the weekend to see dry-weather running, the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro showed strong speed all weekend long.
“It is great to be on the pole for the GT race,” offered team manager Mike Johnson. “We’ve had such a difficult season in GT this year. We started up front at Circuit of the Americas but then had to do a motor change and then got involved in someone else’s crash.
Barber has never been very good to us. We had one win a few years ago but since then it’s been tough. It’s really going to be a crapshoot on the weekend because nobody has done any dry running and with this new surface being all diamond cut, we could have good tire life or we could have horrible tire life.
So the good news is that we haven’t used any tires yet and it’s a shorter race so starting first is the best we can do.”
It was a busy morning for the Stevenson Motorsports squad as the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series also held its qualifying session just prior to the Rolex Series session.
Matt Bell put the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro seventh on the grid for Saturday’s 2.5-hour event with a time of 1:35.591-seconds. He will open the race before turning the controls over to Edwards.
“The combination of everybody crashing and not having too much dry time – we’re always guessing,” said Bell. “Barber is never really our track so we’re usually okay trying some weird set ups here.
We’re pretty off the beaten path as far as what we normally do with our Camaro. We have a car that’s tough to deal with on new tires so maybe it wasn’t a great qualifying set up but it may be okay for a race stint.
I think we were the fastest car on the track in the wet. But when this track starts drying out, the question becomes more “what’s your dry set up?’ and that’s where we struggle and we’re learning more and more about it.
But between the rain and then when the track starts to dry, people start crashing even more. It’ll be tough. It’s going to be more guess work but we definitely have the right people guessing.”
Stevenson Motorsports currently sits fourth in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship standings following a sixth place finish at Daytona and a 10th place result at Circuit of the Americas. The team will target another good outing with the No. 9 Camaro on Saturday.
“I think we had a better car than seventh today but Matt (Bell) just kind of got stuck in some traffic and was in the wrong spot in the qualifying run,” added team manager Mike Johnson.
“But Matt’s the type of guy that you can put him anywhere and he’ll find a way to the front. Our whole goal in the GS race is to just keep those top-five finishes coming and stay in the hunt for the points.”
Saturday will see a busy day of race action for Stevenson Motorsports with the 2-hour Rolex Series race beginning at 12:45 PM (CT) and the 2.5-hour Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race set to start at 4:00 PM (CT).