Third Place for the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro at Homestead
Never ending rain helps the Camaro catch the field
It rained for two days straight at the Homestead-Miami speedway but despite the wet, or perhaps because of it, the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer, was able to secure a solid third place finish at the Grand Prix of Miami round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series.
The rains were incessant and eventually the race was stopped early, leaving at least one team wondering what might have been.
Team Manager Mike Johnson: “As a team, we are all very happy with the third place finish, but I think we would have been on the top step of the podium had Grand-Am decided to finish the race instead of calling it an hour early. Robin was running solid lap times and the winning car would not have had the fuel to finish.”
Liddell: “The Rolex race was shaping up to be a very wet affair and it certainly fulfilled that expectation. At times the track conditions were really quite treacherous but I felt the Series did a good job of anticipating the water logging on the track and neutralizing the race as it became necessary. Having said that, with an hour left on the clock when the checkered flag flew we couldn't help feeling we had been short changed.
“Of course anything can happen in a race like that,” Liddell continued, “but going into the race we felt that with the pace both Ronnie and I had shown in the wet practice that we would be in a good position to win the race in those conditions. As it turned out we both had to fight our way through the pack; Ronnie ran wide in turn two and lost a few spots and later on I got bumped off the track whilst leading following a restart. From a championship point of view, third place points were not bad but a lot of teams were left wondering 'what if'?!”
Ronnie Bremer was once again called on to replace John Edwards who continues to heal up after a skiing accident. Bremer too had high hopes to see the sun that shines brighter from the top step of the podium than it does from anywhere else on the track. That is, if there had been any sun to see.
Bremer: “I had a perfect start and was up to third place by the second lap. Unfortunately I hit a large puddle of water and when off in turn two. When I got back on the pavement I had dropped us back to 13th but I managed to keep moving forward until we were back in third. Visibility was awful and there was a lot of mud all over the track.
“When I came in to hand off to Robin,” Bremer continued, “the team had to clear away a ton of mud and when he went back out we were in fourth place. The team did very good job and the Camaro was so good that I was sad the race was cut short. I think we had a good chance to win if the race had gone the full distance.”
There are many more races to come this season and, if the skies stay blue and Grand-AM continues to work effectively to find the right competitive balance between the cars in the series, Mike Johnson thinks the Stevenson Team will make its share of podium appearances.
Johnson: “Right now the 57 team is operating at a very high level and it really shows through practice, qualifying and the races. The crew, engineers and drivers have really come together this year and right now we are not leaving anything on the race track. The only problem is that Grand-Am is not allowing us to race for the win. We have been limited all year with an insufficient rear tire compared to the other cars, and when we finally got some rain to provide some balance, they cut the race short. I guess that's racing as Grand-Am kind of handed us a win last year at Mid-Ohio, but the decisions in the tower have really been lacking for quite a few races now. I expect some changes by New Jersey and hopefully when the tide turns our favor a little bit, we'll be ready to pounce!”
Liddell: “We are on to New Jersey next which – if it stays dry - will almost certainly prove to be our toughest event to date. I want to once again say thanks to the guys for continuing to put together a good reliable car and to Johnny and Susan for their resolve in these challenging times!"