No. 9 Stevenson Camaro GS.R just misses podium finish at The Glen
Pick up best finish this season after starting less than a second off pole
At Watkins Glen this past weekend, Matt Bell qualified the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R second on the grid and in a rousing and closely fought race that saw seven caution periods, he and co-driver John Edwards picked up their third consecutive top ten finish in the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series. Going into the last three races of the season the team stands sixth in the Team Championship standings and hopes to carry recent momentum forward to capture a win - or three.
For the Stevenson team, the race was fairly uneventful in terms of incidents or issues with the way things unfolded. It was actually a race in which an opportunity for a solid, clean finish was made clear from the moment the team first fired up the Camaro for the practice session.
Team Manager Mike Johnson: "For the first time in a long time, it felt like we rolled off the truck with a car we could race with. We were never the quickest, but we were always running where we needed to, and we could actually pass other cars instead of always trying to defend. Matt put down a great lap in qualifying and we thought it would hold up for the pole position, but the Aston Martin (No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports, Aston Martin Racing) beat us right before a black flag ended the session."
The Aston Martin qualified at 2:02.785 with Bell practically "glued to its bumper" with a time of
2:02.833, a margin of just 0.0480, less time than it takes to sneeze! The race too saw amazingly close times and 34 cars managed to finish on the lead lap with the gap in the best race lap times for the top six finishers being just one second between the first and sixth place cars.
Bell would have preferred to stand on the podium this time - the first of the season - but overall he feels the weekend played out very well for the entire team. With a better balance of horsepower to the competition, he thinks the team's strengths in engineering and execution could have put them on one of those steps.
"We kept the racing clean, we calculated the strategy perfectly, but we just couldn't put it together." Bell noted. "It's unfortunate, but it's also fun knowing everything went as it should have. Our car was fast from the first practice and I was able to put it on the front row in qualifying. I feel I was robbed a bit of a pole position, but was very happy to be at the pointy end, regardless!