Not A Podium But A Victory The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most grueling and emotional events in all of racing and a real test of both man and machine. To win it is a high all its own, as Randy well knows. But ninth in class is ...
Not A Podium But A Victory
The Rolex 24 at Daytona is one of the most grueling and emotional events in all of racing and a real test of both man and machine. To win it is a high all its own, as Randy well knows. But ninth in class is nothing to sneeze at either. Randy and his Stevenson Motorsports #57 Pontiac GXP.R team ran 644 laps (2292.64 miles) and finished ninth out of 43 cars in their class, meeting the team goal of top ten in class. "This big V8-powered Pontiac is a brand new car in its first race ever. We were very pleased overall with its performance in such a very competitive field" said Randy. I love my teammates. All four drivers meshed very well and I feel lucky to be a part of a really first class team".
The weekend started out well with solid practices and a ninth place qualifying lap by Robin Liddell. All four drivers had successful stints in the car without major incident despite the rainy, slippery conditions and overly aggressive driving by other teams. Unfortunately after hour 18 while running fourth in class, Gunnar Jeannette was sandwiched by two Daytona Prototypes and then punted, causing him to break all four suspension control arms. The team was able to replace them and re-enter the race but lost several positions.
"We were having a really great run until the crash. I had an enjoyable session after the incident even though the car was still bent. I actually ran my fastest lap after the crash. The crew did a very good job of repairing the car and getting us back out there" Randy said.
Although they did return to the race fairly quickly, the cars ahead of them in class had few problems and the Stevenson team was not able to fully catch up.
"This has been a very rewarding and satisfying experience" said Randy. "I would love to drive with the Stevenson Motorsports team again. It is really a first-class effort".
Of course this was not the only race Randy ran this weekend. On Friday, Randy competed in the KONI Challenge Fresh From Florida 200 in his APR Motorsports #181 Volkswagen GTI. The original plan for the week had to be altered when co-driver Mark White came down with a case of food poisoning and was not able to practice or qualify for the race. Randy qualified the car eighth and, due to series rules, was required to start the race. During the caution flag shortly after the start, Randy turned the car over to Mark who, still not feeling well, stayed in until the next caution flag. Plagued by brake and power steering issues, a miscommunication in the pits and an unpleasant tangle with a Mustang, the team went down a few laps and was never able to catch up, finishing twenty-first in class.
"This team is a first-class outfit of which I am happy to be a part of. Both the team and the car are new to the series and are still being developed", Randy explained. "This race was a learning experience with teething problems. We have great potential and will take this experience and focus on improving issues for the next race. Mark did very well considering the circumstances. It was a very heroic effort on his part. I'm looking forward to the next race".