Atlanta, Ga. – Stevenson Motorsports continued to show strength in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition on Saturday as Matt Bell and John Edwards teamed to score a victory at Road Atlanta in the Price Waterhouse Cooper 250.
Fresh from a strong runner-up finish earlier this month at Barber Motorsports Park, Bell and Edwards closed the gap to the championship lead with the team’s first race win of the year.
Bell opened the race from the front row, and was a factor throughout his stint, leading the race before turning the car over to Edwards.
The young New York resident moved back to the point thanks in part to some outstanding pit work before fending off a hard charge to the finish from Andy Lally.
“I think last week we were leading and I was a little bitter with a mis-shift to lose the race,” said Edwards. “But I think we had a better car today. (Andy) Lally was there at the end.
I think we were pretty equal on lap times and he was a little quicker on the straights but not as good in the brake zones so I think over one lap we were even.
But that made it stressful when his speed was coming from the straightaway and mine was coming from the brake zone because I had to work really hard there at the end. It was some really clean racing and I’m really happy to pull this one off for Chevrolet.”
The gap to the points championship lead shrunk from 17 to 6 points in the provisional post-race standings, giving yet more reason for celebrations with four rounds of racing in the books.
“It is surprising to be this strong in the championship at this point,” said Bell, who took second in the 2012 driver championship rankings. “The team is working better than they ever have before, and I think the pit stops have been incredible.
Everyone is working overtime, for us to have a car that was this good without having the running time that we wanted, shows a lot. So far, we are looking pretty good in this championship.”
The Barber Motorsports Park event saw the team make a run to second place in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race before returning to the podium later in the day with a big Rolex Sports Car Series win. That’s the kind of day that Stevenson is hoping to have on Saturday.
“It was a great start to the day - hopefully we can finish it in the same way here today,” said team owner John Stevenson. “It is a beautiful day, too! As I've said before we don't ever quit digging. We go as hard as we can go. Thank goodness we have such depth and such great crews on both squads.
These GS guys have just done an awesome job since Thursday which we didn't really have a racecar from Thursday until today. That last pit stop - we haven't figured out how we did it yet, it was so good! John (Edwards) did a great job of holding them off at the end and Matt (Bell) put John in good position after his stint and Mike (Johnson) as usual did a great job on the box so we'll take them however we can get them.”