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Team Effort Nets Victory At Watkins Glen For Stevenson Motorsports
Posted by: newsla on Jul 01, 2013 - 01:35 PM
Grand Am News
Team Effort Nets Victory At Watkins Glen For Stevenson Motorsports


Fighting through changing and variable conditions at Watkins Glen International, Stevenson Motorsports returned to Victory Lane once again as drivers Robin Liddell and John Edwards scored a second consecutive Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen win for the team.

 

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After getting a rough start to the 2013 season, Stevenson has recovered brilliantly, taking four wins in the last five races. The team has utilized unconventional strategy, clutch work in the pits, and on Sunday, an outstanding and consistent race pace and an excellent response in challenging conditions to score the team’s fourth Rolex Series victory of the season.

The team led the fabled Six Hour six different times with the No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Camaro GT. R for a total of 67 of the 164 laps run.

The win propelled the team up not only in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series Team Championship standings, but also in the North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com (NAEC) standings. The NAEC will stage a final race in four weeks time at the Brickyard Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Liddell started the race from pole position, leading the opening segments before the team took advantage of an early caution for fuel. While the stop cost track position, the plan played out well as Liddell was soon again charging back up the order before turning the car over to Edwards. The young American talent made his own charge, moving to the point and leading 23 laps in succession.

Wet but inconsistent conditions arrived past the halfway point, creating a challenge for those calling the pit strategy, as well as a new adventure for the drivers on nearly every corner as the track grew damp.

But Edwards handled all the conditions with aplomb before turning the car over to Liddell to take to the checkered flag in a stop with less than two hours to go. Liddell moved back to the lead on lap 133, and then took the point for good on the 154th lap after the team stopped him for one final dash of fuel to go the final 45 minutes to the finish.

“It was a great race and a great team effort,” said team manager Mike Johnson, who surpassed the 50 win mark earlier this year and has shown no signs of slowing down. “We saw Ganassi putting out rain tires and you start to wonder if you are making the right call. But we were getting low on fuel so we did what we did and we had a spotter out on the track and were able to get it right. I’ve been saying we are going to be first or last, and it is great to be first again!”

"We have some time to go here,” said team owner John Stevenson about how the championship is forming up. “They guys were obviously awesome. Anything can happen in 6 hours here at the Glen, particularly in the rain, but the guys were pretty flawless and they did a great job. There were some great calls from the box and John Edwards and Robin did their thing and it's a nice spot to be in. We are about six points out of the lead so we are back in the hunt with some races to go, so with a little luck maybe we can get ourselves a championship this year."

"It was really tough, especially with the changing conditions,” said Edwards, who had to keep calm as he watched Liddell bring the car home to the checkered flag. “But I've always said, I prefer to be in the car at the end because sitting on the pit stand getting a nervous twitch starting in my leg is always the worst part of the race for me. So when I got out of the car that was the most nerve wracking part of the race for me. Ultimately the car was good in the dry and we were hoping it wouldn't rain because those conditions are really tough and you are liable to throw it off even if you are as good of a driver as you can be."

"I kept forcing myself to stay focused the whole race,” said Liddell. “That is a dangerous kind of gap to have, just four seconds or so. And I was fully expecting some rain, we saw some dark clouds coming through. So I was expecting some rain or some kind of safety car so I was just trying to stay focused on the job at hand and just reel off the laps. I just want to say thanks to everybody here, the Camaro is fantastic and John did a great job. But I have been with this team for 6 years and it is probably the best team result I have ever seen for us. Everybody contributed in such an important part, it really was a proper team effort throughout the whole weekend. So I am really happy for the guys, it was great."

Stevenson Motorsports is now second in the championship as the team will see a four-week break in GRAND-AM competition and will return for Round 8 of the championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway July 24-26. The team is also second in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship standings, and is looking to improve in both.


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