Watkins Glen II: Stevenson Motorsports race report

One Stevenson Camaro Expires On Track After Running in Second Place Sister Car Picks Up Best Season Finish They began the season with two new Chevrolet Camaro race cars and hoped to find the same blend of performance and luck that they enjoyed...

One Stevenson Camaro Expires On Track After Running in Second Place
Sister Car Picks Up Best Season Finish

They began the season with two new Chevrolet Camaro race cars and hoped to find the same blend of performance and luck that they enjoyed the last two seasons running Pontiacs. But for the Stevenson Motorsports Team competing in the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, 2010 has delivered a decidedly different outcome.

At last weekend's race, the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen, the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports / VinSolutions / VonAllmen Capital Partners / Chevrolet Camaro GT.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell looked to finally be in serious contention for a win only to have that dream go up in smoke. The team's first engine failure this season came just as Liddell was hounding the GT class leading Mazda for the lead.

For the sister car, the No. 97 Stevenson Motorsports / Lala Motorsports / VonAllmen Capital Partners / Chevrolet Camaro GT.R., driven by Gunter Schaldach and Ronnie Bremer, the outcome was much better as the pair kept charging throughout the race and managed to score their best finish for the car this season.

The team comes away from this race with little expectation they can capture a championship. There simply aren't enough races left in the season for them to harness enough luck to break out on top.

Team Manager Mike Johnson: "After the heartbreak at New Jersey, our primary goal at the Glen was to maintain 3rd in the championship, and for most of the race, we had that goal covered......then the engine let go. Andrew and Robin in the No. 57 fell 14 points behind the 3rd place car of Leh Keen and James Gue in the driver's championship with just two races to go. We are going to need some strong measure of luck to be able to catch them by seasons end.

"On the other hand," he continued, "the No. 97 had its best finish of the year with 5th place. We struggled for the entire race with blistering rear tires and this eventually caused the No. 97 to go a lap down. We then got a perfectly timed yellow, unfortunately from the engine failure in the No. 57, and then another yellow and a wave by. This gave us the opportunity to sticker up and go for it, and it worked out great."

In qualifying, Andrew Davis just missed getting the pole position by a hair. At two one-hundredths of a second, the gap from first to second was so slight it would take you more time than that just to say two one-hundredths of a second out loud.

Davis: "Everyone at Stevenson Motorsports worked so hard to produce a car that was capable of bringing us our first victory of the year. Everything felt good during the first practice sessions, and I was confident that we had a chance going into qualifying. The qualifying session was intense, as I was determined to put the car up front. I pushed as hard as possible for the entire session, battling for the pole position until the very last lap. I couldn't believe that I missed the pole by a mere two one-hundredths of a second, but I was pleased to be starting on the front row."

Davis continues his recounting of the action on track.

"We improved the car even further during the final practice session, and it looked as if the cooler temperatures in the evening might help us keep the rear tires from blistering. I got a great jump at the green flag allowing me to grab the lead for a brief moment entering turn one. After getting a bit loose on throttle, I had to give position to the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda on the way into the uphill esses. From there, I just focused on putting as much pressure as possible on the leader until my rear tires began to blister late into the stint.

"It was great to have representatives from both VinSolutions and Intersil join us for the event, and it looked like we were going to provide them with an exciting finish. Unfortunately, it all went up in smoke with less than 30 minutes remaining. I was in complete disbelief when I heard Robin come over the radio informing us of the engine failure! All we can do now is look forward to the two remaining chances to get the Stevenson Motorsports VinSolutions/Von Allmen Capital Partners/Intersil Camaro GT.R into victory lane."

Liddell provided this accounting of his time at the wheel that ended in a cloud of smoke and a 14th place finish.

"Overall, it was another frustrating weekend for Stevenson Motorsports and GM Racing." Liddell said. "Andrew had a great run going in the first hour pressuring the No. 70 Mazda for the lead, until for the second race in succession; we were hit by one of the SpeedSource Mazdas. It was pretty clear as the race unfolded that the Mazda was again the car to beat, and after a few laps when the tires started to go off I could see them driving off into the distance.

"We knew that tire blistering was a problem, so we just tried to drive within the limits of the car and not work the tires too hard. Even so, they were starting to blister by the end of the first stint, and as a result the No. 41 Dempsey Racing Mazda caught and passed me quite easily towards the end of my first stint. We did manage to get back ahead after the second round of pit stops with some good pit work. Unfortunately we had dropping oil pressure throughout the race and two laps into my second stint we lost power going up through the Esses. With smoke coming out of the hood I just pulled off the track at the Bus stop and parked the car.

"Again, I have to thank Johnny and Susan Stevenson for their continued support and patience with this program, and the guys did a super job in the pits."

Johnson: "The only good news coming from the Glen is that Grand-Am has finally decided to give us a tire we can race with so we'll have a new rear tire at Montreal and Miller. A little too much WAY too late, but at least we can finish a race....hopefully."

The next race on the GRAND-Am Rolex Series schedule will be held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal, Quebec on August 28th.

-source: stevenson motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Robin Liddell , Gilles Villeneuve , James Gue , Andrew Davis , Ronnie Bremer , Mike Johnson , Lehman Keen
Teams Stevenson Motorsports , SpeedSource