Team Report: Fighting Fifth for Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R at Road America
Source: Sunday Group Management
Elkhart Lake, Wisc. (8 August 2015) – Stevenson Motorsports continued to push for a championship in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competition on Saturday at Road America, but didn’t make the ground up that the team had been hoping to. The No. 6 Camaro Z/28.R of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis finished fifth in the Continental Tire Showcase.
Davis opened the race from the pole after the grid was set by championship points. But even before the end of the first lap, he was forced back to third in the order as the current IMSA regulations are keeping the Camaro from delivering all the performance that it is capable of. A lap 15 pit stop during a caution saw him take the restart from eighth before moving up to run as high as third before the lap 39 pit stop to turn the machine over to Liddell.
“In general, it was a very difficult stint,” said Davis. “You’re trying to outdrive the massive loss in straight-line speed, and you just can’t. No matter how good and perfect you are in the corners and under braking, you get swallowed up and driven away from. But over the course of the run, a few of the cars came back to us, so it was nice to get in front of a couple of them. But even a couple of the backmarker cars just zipped away on the straightaway. We lost a lot of time in traffic and to the lead pack. We’ll soldier through. Our Camaro Z/28.R ran as well as it possibly could. I’m proud of how our Stevenson guys prepped it. Every position counts.”
Liddell returned to the fray on the 4-mile circuit sixth in the order, and was frustrated to not be able to move further forward than fifth by the time the checkered flag flew.
The racing fortunes continued to refuse to shine on the No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R of Matt Bell and Lawson Aschenbach as the duo’s race outing ended early following a drivetrain issue.
“If there’s bad luck to be had, it goes our way,” said a chagrined Bell. “The Camaro Z/28.R was set up perfectly. We didn’t touch anything all weekend. This morning we made a decision to make a change that would make the car better over a run, and it worked. The Camaro was great handling-wise all day. We were just down on power the whole time. I really noticed it right behind the No. 6 car, and it was just slowly getting worse on the straights. We knew something was wrong. Maybe I got it too hot. We’re trying some new things on the cooling system that maybe didn’t help out so well. We’re doing what we can. It’s just another missed opportunity.”
“It was just really unexpected,” said Aschenbach of the sudden loss of power. “Coming out of The Carousel, everything was feeling really good. It happens in racing. I know everyone at Chevrolet is working hard on these cars, as well as Pratt & Miller and Stevenson Motorsports. We’ve had a tough year, but we’ll rebound. We’ll get this thing back up there sooner or later. It’s been a rough patch the last couple races. It happens. It takes perseverance, dedication and focus, and sure enough you’re back up front before you know it. The Camaro Z/28.R was on rails. I was really happy with the balance. Within a lap, Robin (Liddell) and I were running nose-to-tail and pushing as hard as we could to stay ahead of everyone that we were running ahead of at the time. It just didn’t work out today.”
The visit to the fabled Wisconsin track was one that the team had been looking forward to, but will now instead look to regain podium momentum in two weeks’ time at Virginia International Raceway.
“You have to look at races like this, and you know they’re going to come,” said team manager Mike Johnson. “The series is going to do what they feel they need to do, for whatever reason they need to do it, and you have to find ways to overcome it, whether it’s in this race, or the next race, or the last race. All we can do as a team is to do the best we can on the weekend with the car we had. We’ve got three more races to go and we have a 15 point lead. I don’t expect any help from the series. It’s disheartening when you see that happen (other cars having so much race pace). It shouldn’t be that easy. In race trim, at any point, one car shouldn’t be 1.8 seconds faster than another one. Whether the series does something or doesn’t do anything, I can’t do anything about it.”
FOX Sports 1 will televise the race on Monday, August 17 at 8:00 PM ET.