Stevenson Pontiac Records First Ever DNF At Daytona New Motor In The No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R Expires In Florida Heat The second race of the season at Daytona International Speedway, for the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown...
Stevenson Pontiac Records First Ever DNF At Daytona
New Motor In The No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R Expires In Florida Heat
The second race of the season at Daytona International Speedway, for the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, was supposed to be much shorter than the first one. For the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports / BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, the motor in the car suffered from internal failures after just six laps.
Liddell: "Andrew had made a good start but was in traffic for the first couple of laps and the water temperature was already running very hot. Once he was in clear air we thought that the temperature would drop but suddenly it got even hotter and Andrew reported the engine starting to tighten up."
Team Manager Mike Johnson: "We had really high hopes for the Brumos 250 as we finally had our brand new race spec LS6 from CRD that we had been developing for the last four races. Immediately we had more top speed than we ever had at Daytona and were solidly in the top 4 of all practice sessions with both drivers. Unfortunately after the final practice, the team found water in the oil catch tank, which meant we had a problem with the engine. "
The Grand-Am series had to compete for track time with NASCAR races which meant there were precious few hours available for any sportscar team to react to a problem. The Grand Am teams had to set up, practice, qualify and race all in the same day. Problems like the ones the Stevenson team encountered required more time to resolve than the tight track schedule would permit.
Johnson: "With the short weekend, and having the race start an hour after the last practice, we didn't have enough time to change the engine and the crew worked hard to make modifications to the radiator inlets to see about getting more air into the engine. Andrew had a great start and immediately reported high temperatures, but nothing higher than we had seen in the past, so we were hopeful, but of course a lap or two later, he reported the engine was tightening up, and we knew we were done."
Davis: "Obviously, we are bitterly disappointed with our result in the Stevenson Motorsports GXP.R. This particular race is very demanding in that the schedule is so compact and intense. The day started out very promising for us, with our newly developed motor from CRD performing exceptionally well. For the first time at Daytona, the BryanMark Financial Pontiac flirted with the top of the time sheets.
"The car was very strong for the start of the race, and I made quick work of the Mazda in front of me. I noticed that the engine temperature was a little high when we were running nose to tail for the first two laps, but I had hoped that would improve once I was able to get a little clear air on the front of the car. Unfortunately, the engine problem was much more severe and resulted in a terminal failure only a few laps later."
Liddell: "We are naturally very disappointed particularly as we had a new engine and it looked in practice at least, that we had a competitive car. The temperatures we saw early on were not dissimilar to what we ran at during the 24 Hours at this track in January so we need to get back to team base and diagnose what went wrong."
For a team that challenged the competition at every race in 2008, finishing just nine points shy of the overall team and driver's championships, this season has instead been one filled with disappointments and frustrations. With this did-not-finish (DNF) result, Davis and Liddell did not earn a single championship point however, tomorrow always brings another shot at redemption and no one on this team is turning in their helmets and driving gloves just yet.
Davis: "The guys have been working very hard over the last few weeks to make improvements, and we really felt like we turned a corner with the strong performance at Mid-Ohio. This is a big set-back for us in terms of championship points, but Stevenson Motorsports is not a team that will simply lay over. We will continue to bring the fight to each event for the remainder of the season."
Johnson: "At this point, all we can do is race for wins over the last 5 races and re-establish ourselves as one of the top GT teams in the Rolex Series."
The next race on the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 will be the 8th of the season with the series moving to Alabama and the Barber Motorsports Park.