No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports / Sunoco Camaro Scores First Podium No. 9 Sister car finishes 17th after mechanical problem The No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco-Camaro GS.R driven by Matt Bell and Jeff Bucknum and the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports...
No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports / Sunoco Camaro Scores First Podium
No. 9 Sister car finishes 17th after mechanical problem
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 Craig Stone finished 2nd and 17th respectively in the Bosch Engineering VIR 200 held at Virginia International Raceway.
The second place finish marked the first time the new 2010 Chevrolet Camaro had reached the podium. Unfortunately, one of the other two podium spots could not go to the No. 9 Stevenson car as a mechanical problem caused the car to run out of gas on the last lap. A podium placing was a real possibility - perhaps even a win - as the car was running in third place for quite some time before the problem.
Hugh Plumb complimented his teammates in the sister car, and his co-driver, when he said, "First off I have to say Matt and Jeff had a great run. Craig Stone did everything he was supposed to do to bring me a good car unfortunately we broke an exhaust tube in the middle of his stint which caused the car to lose a good amount of power. At a track like VIR being down on power can really hurt you. The problem also hurt us with fuel consumption. When I got in the car we where able to run in the top three for a number of laps but we had to stop one time more than we should have had to just to keep gas in the car. We were using twice the fuel we should have been using, so we had to make an extra stop. Ultimately we ran out of gas on the last lap giving up three or four positions.
"With this being said, I think Grand Am has now given us the chance to be competitive and I think we now have something really good to build on."
Craig Stone: "Our team showed its resolve this weekend; despite numerous set backs we rallied to capture the first podium for the new Camaro. It was evident driving the car that both Larry Hahn and Greg Jones made the right set up calls to put both cars in contention to win. While the No. 9 car was in a clear position to win the race, a minor part failure took Hugh and me out of the fight for the win. For me personally, it was good to see Hugh and the No. 9 car battling up front. I am very confident that everyone at Stevenson Motorsports will once again roll up their sleeves and work even harder to put both team cars on the podium at the next race!"
Jeff Bucknum in the No 6 Camaro echoed Plumb's sentiments when he said, "I just want to mention how sorry I am that Craig Stone - who was filling in for Al Carter - and Hugh Plumb in the No. 9 car didn't get to finish out their race as strong as we did. I think they would have had a podium or maybe even a win if they didn't have that mechanical problem.
"What a crazy race weekend we had!" Bucknum continued. "I am so happy we finished our weekend on a positive note. I am not surprised at all by our second place finish. I came to this Stevenson Motorsport team because I knew they have that 'never give up until we win' attitude. Our 2nd place finish in the No. 6 Sunoco Camaro is just an example of what this whole team is capable of doing at every race.
"The first 2 days of our race weekend was very difficult and frustrating to say the least," Bucknum continued, "as we had to change out motors and two gear boxes because we needed to have fresh ones in the car before our race. My teammate Matt Bell has done a great job all year, but the funniest thing is he seems to do his best driving when he is put in a spot where he has to start in last place! He just puts his head down and drives the car all the way to the front before he hands it off to me!
Bell agreed. "This weekend was a very busy one for the Stevenson team. They made two engine changes and a two transmission swaps and that kept the crew under the car for most of the weekend. I was unfortunately unable to qualify, but, as Jeff noted, the No. 6 Sunoco Camaro seems to enjoy a challenge like starting dead last in class.
"For me" Bell continued, "It was one of those magical moments in racing where our car, completely unchanged from two days before, turned out to be perfectly balanced during the race while the other competitors struggled for grip. I fought through the field and made my way up to 4th place when I got out to hand the reigns over to Jeff."
Bucknum: "Before I even got in the car I reminded myself that every lap was going to have to be like a qualifier if we wanted a chance to win. The great thing about the car is it stayed good during the whole race. Even as the tires wore out I could still turn laps almost as fast as when they were new. The brakes never faded at all and I can tell you I was braking as late and as hard as I could into every corner of every lap."
Bell: "The lead was ours for a solid chunk of the race when finally we had to make one last stop for fuel, demoting us to 2nd. Even though the top step wasn't ours this weekend, I feel that the Stevenson Camaro has made very large strides toward being a very competitive race car in this series."
Bucknum: "What a great finish to a long hard fought weekend by everyone on the team. I am super excited about the outlook for the remainder of this season with both of the Stevenson Motorsports Sunoco Camaro race cars."
Team Manager Mike Johnson - is also looking for some great finishes for the twin Chevrolet Camaro GS.Rs now that the mechanical woes seem to have moved from a present to past tense.
"I could not be any happier with our GS team right now." Johnson noted. "They have worked so hard to find the improvements and make the changes the cars needed. I don't think they have had one day at the track this year when they didn't have to pull a gearbox or a clutch, or an engine, or something. Finally all the hard work came together Saturday afternoon and we got the result we deserved. The No. 9 car was actually in a better position to win the race, but we cracked an exhaust tube which lost some power and doubled our fuel mileage. With an hour to go the No 9 car was 40 seconds ahead of the 4th place finisher, but the car simply lost too much power and needed to make another stop for fuel.
"The good news is that I think we're finally at the point where we can show up to the track and just work on the handling of the car without having to replace broken parts for so much of the time. I think a win is right around the corner."
The next race on the 2010 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series schedule will be held on Saturday, May 29th at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut.
-source: stevenson motorsports