Stevenson Motorsports Corvette Finishes a Strong 6th At Daytona It was a hot and humid, both bright and dark day in Florida. While that sounds like the start of a bad novel, it really ends up a good story about an American race team that is...
Stevenson Motorsports Corvette Finishes a Strong 6th At Daytona
It was a hot and humid, both bright and dark day in Florida. While that sounds like the start of a bad novel, it really ends up a good story about an American race team that is proud to wear the colors of the American flag. A team that sent up some fireworks on the way to a great run at Daytona International Speedway during the Brumos Porsche 250 Grand American Rolex Series race.
The race started under a hot and very bright sun but ran into the still-humid evening darkness. As the brilliance of the setting sun gave way to the black of night, the Stevenson Corvette became a mobile fireworks wagon with excess exhaust gases burning brightly out the side pipes. The flames were glowing bright orange against the red, white and blue liveried American muscle car. The fans had come to see a race and the Stevenson car threw in an early Fourth of July fireworks show. And with just a little more luck, some champagne might have been thrown in too.
The distinctly American motor-city bullet started 11th on the grid. Series standings were used to set the starting order as technical difficulties within the race control and track safety official's communications network led to cancellation of qualifying earlier in the day. In the end, the lack of track time meant a late race stop for a splash of fuel. That stop derailed the #57 Stevenson Corvette's progress towards a sure podium finish.
Team Engineer and Strategist Ron Ogletree explains why the last few gallons had to go in. "We were running an untested engine for Daytona and with the cancellation of practice and qualifying -- we only had a single 15 minute practice session instead of the half hour practice and 15 min qualifying -- we didn't have enough track time to calculate our mileage due to a tire rub problem. What really gets me is that the leading Porsche came in just ahead of us. . If the need to come in hadn't arisen, we had the chance to finish second, if not a sure third."
Vic Rice and Tommy Riggins once again put the pedal down hard moving up 5 places in the order, despite late race contact between Riggins and Hurley Haywood in the #59 Brumos Porsche Daytona Prototype. Ogletree: "Hurley tried to dive inside Tommy entering turn 1 and made contact with his right rear tire causing the car to spin. Tommy said the suspension didn't feel just right after that but he kept the car on track and still managed to put us in a position where a podium could happen."
Team Owner John Stevenson: "We really had a great race pace going on. If we didn't need the couple of gallons of gas at the end we would have finished at least in third. I'm really pleased with the way this car and how this team has progressed and I expect we will see a great run at the next race at Barber."
Ogletree too is optimistic about the team's chances at Barber. "The Corvette has good torque and that is a real advantage at a track like Barber provided we can get it to the ground. It's only a little over 2 miles long but there are 15 turns with a lot of short straight sections where we can get the power down. I think we will have another strong run there. I think we will be in real good shape to challenge the top cars on that track."
The Stevenson Motorsports Corvette has entered 11 of the 13 events on the Grand Am GT calendar thus far this season, with a best placing of fourth at the Lime Rock round, which came just before the problematic Watkins Glen race. As of the Mid-Ohio round, (the team did not compete at Mid-Ohio) the team holds down 11th place overall in the Team Standings, putting them ahead of 30 other GT teams in the series.
The next race for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama on June 30th.