SCC: UTAH: Stevenson Motorsports race report

From The Pole To A Popped Hole For Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco Camaro At Miller GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series The Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R team finished the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car...

From The Pole To A Popped Hole For Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco Camaro At Miller
GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series

The Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R team finished the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series 2010 season tucked away back in the pack despite having started at the front. The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R, driven by Matt Bell and Jeff Bucknum finished in 15th place while the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R, driven by Hugh Plumb and Al Carter came home in 23rd place.

The No. 6 car had the pole courtesy of a rapid run by Matt Bell. Unfortunately that great start was negated by the loss of the ABS which caused the rear wheels to lock up.

Team Manager Mike Johnson: "It was great to see the No. 6 car on the pole again. Once again, Matt did a great job in qualifying wrestling the last few tenths out of the car, but we lost a wheel speed sensor in the race, causing us to lose ABS. Matt and Jeff did a great job, but the rear tires lock up without ABS, so they had to brake early and eventually the rear tires flat spot. Towards the end of the race, Jeff was just a sitting duck and fell from 4th to 15th."

Bell: "Utah's Miller Motorsport Park is an incredible place to race. Something about a mountainous backdrop with the dry, flat setting gives it a magical feel, and the racing that happens on the track follows that same trend. I was lucky enough to score my second pole of the season and the second for the new Camaro. The Stevenson team set up an outstanding race car. All the struggles we had the day before with the handling were behind me as I set the fast lap for qualifying. Driving that Camaro was a dream! The car also performed well in the opening moments of the race, but after about 20 laps in my stint the ABS failed. In a conventional race car, that's not a crippling issue, but in a production-based Camaro, the car becomes nearly un-drivable. I held on to the lead best I could for the remainder of my stint and turned it over to Jeff, where his luck proved to be even worse than mine!"

For the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R, a hole in a hose knocked out the power steering unit, putting Plumb and Carter in the role of strong-armed musclemen attempting to race nimble rabbits. Things simply didn't 'turn around' for them at this, the last race of the 2010 season.

Johnson: "Al and Hugh were in a great position running in the top five, but at the second pit stop, the power steering hose popped a hole when Hugh was trying to get out of the pits, and the engine eventually lost a belt."

Plumb: "Going into the final round of the 2010 Continental Challenge Series I had thought that all of the No. 9 cars bad luck and problems had been accounted for but this was not the case. Al Carter did a good job keeping himself clean and staying within the top twelve when we got a perfect yellow with around 28 minutes left in the race. Mike made a good call and brought him in not knowing when we would get another yellow. After a not so great stop, we came back out in around the twentieth spot. After making a lot of spots up and moving up to 12th place, Mike did a great job to bring me in under green, but unfortunately we got a full course yellow. This actually turned out in our favor after the No. 9 car crew gave us a quick splash of fuel and put on two right side tires. On the way down pit lane I noticed that we had no power steering, which was really too bad because we were now in fifth position. After holding off the train behind me for a couple laps this eventually led to the water pump belt coming off which led to our motor overheating. This was really a shame because we have found some speed in the car this year but we simply can not seem to get a break on the mechanical end of things."

Despite the last race setbacks, Johnson and Bell remain optimistic that the maiden season for the Sunoco Camaro's -with the issues that arose and were subsequently dealt with, not an unusual circumstance for a new race car - served to position the team for an all out run for the championship in 2011.

Bell: "Overall, the weekend was just one more piece of proof that Stevenson Motorsport knows how to set up a GM race car. We started the weekend with mid-pack runner and ended with a race win-contending vehicle. The team is ready to win races next year, as long as our luck turns around. So much this season has come down to a broken clip or a bad motor. Hopefully all that's behind us and we can once again, focus forward."

Johnson: "While we had two poles and a couple of podiums in our first year developing the new Camaro, we are very pleased, but we still have a lot of development for next year if we are going to contend for wins and the championship. Good news is that we have a long off season to get everything ready."

-source: stevenson motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jeff Bucknum , Hugh Plumb , Mike Johnson , Matthew Bell , Al Carter
Teams Stevenson Motorsports