Stevenson GS Camaro Twins Move Up At Barber The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco / Camaro GS.R driven by Matt Bell and Jeff Bucknum and the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco / Camaro GS.R driven by Hugh Plumb and Al Carter finished 14th...
Stevenson GS Camaro Twins Move Up At Barber
The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco / Camaro GS.R driven by Matt Bell and Jeff Bucknum and the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco / Camaro GS.R driven by Hugh Plumb and Al Carter finished 14th and 26th respectively in the Barber 200 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. This was a marked improvement from the prior race where they finished 32nd and 35th respectively, but the Stevenson Team - and Team Manager Mike Johnson - is looking for much greater finishes for the twin Riley Technology built Chevrolet Camaro GS.Rs
Johnson has previously appealed to GRAND-AM that the driveline in the Camaro is a stock unit, as per the rules, but one unable to withstand the stress of racing. Coming out of the Barber round of the series, Johnson feels there may finally be a concession on the part of GRAND-AM to allow the team to use a substitute driveline.
Johnson: "Through all the ups and downs of the weekend, the best thing to come out of it is a new appreciation from Grand-Am to help the Camaro. I think we are finally going to get some changes in the driveline for VIR (the next race in the series) which could finally give us a competitive race car. We'll be testing several new parts this week at New Jersey Motorsports Park which should finally help."
In the Barber race, tire wear played a role in keeping even the fastest cars from reaching their full potential. Jeff Bucknum relates his experience with rubber and road. "Tire wear was a big factor during the race. We probably lost twice as much time as we normally do over the life span of the tire life. At most tracks we might see a drop in times around 1 second per lap as the tires wear out, but at this track we saw at least a 2 second per lap drop in lap times."
Besides the tires on his car, Bucknum had to serve a penalty for a tire not on his car.
"Traffic became a real problem after I had to serve a 60 second penalty for hitting a tire as I left the pits." Bucknum noted. "That put me at the back of the pack where all the ST cars and slower GS cars are. This track doesn't have many passing opportunities so you have to take chances which can pay off nicely or become a real crash fest. I ended up getting banged around a lot with that crowd so I was forced to work that much harder to get back up to 14th place at the end."
"Our finishing results our not representative of what progress we actually made over the course of the race weekend." Bucknum said, "I feel we did learn things on the Camaro that worked and didn't work giving us valuable information to ultimately go faster for future races this year. I still believe that with this talented team, and a little more help from GRAND-AM, we should be able to win races before the end of this year."
Johnson: "This has been a very long month with two tests and two races and we're only halfway there. I can't say enough for the determination and work ethic of our crew. We are basically changing a clutch, slave cylinder or gearbox every day and the guys just keep pounding through. We have two days to change an engine and fix the front of the No. 6, but we'll be ready for New Jersey!"
The next race on the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Sportscar Challenge Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 schedule will be held on April 24 at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, VA.
-source: Stevenson Motorsports