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Apr 29, 2014 - 06:09 AM
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Stevenson Motorsports Preview: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Posted by: newsla on Apr 29, 2014 - 06:07 AM
Sports Cars
Stevenson Motorsports Preview: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca


Making just the team’s third start with the all-new Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, Stevenson Motorsports broke through at Sebring International Raceway to score an IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win with the new machine as Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell won Round 2 of the championship.

 

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TV INFORMATION: This weekend’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 at 10:00 AM ET on May 11.

STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS 2014 IMSA DRIVER LINE-UP:
No. 6 Camaro Z/28.R - Andrew Davis & Robin Liddell
No. 9 Camaro Z/28.R - Matt Bell & Andy Lally

A LOOK BACK – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - 2013:
Matt Bell and John Edwards scored second, marking a third consecutive podium at the track for Stevenson, having won both the 2011 and 2012 MRLS races.

STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca STATS:
2011: No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro – Started: 1 Finished: 1 (Matt Bell, John Edwards)
2012: No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro – Started: 8 Finished: 1 (Matt Bell, John Edwards)
2013: No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro – Started: 4 Finished: 2 (Matt Bell, John Edwards)

Laguna Memories: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca has been a staple on the road racing calendar for decades. The Stevenson Motorsports drivers all have some fond memories of the track, but when asked what was their favorite, had this to offer:

Andrew Davis: "Laguna Seca is certainly one of the great American race tracks, and ranks very high on my list of favorites. I've been competing at the track for nearly a decade, and in that time I've had my share of great moments and heart breaks. However, there is no question of my favorite memory at Laguna Seca. In 2011, we rolled the Brumos Racing Porsche off the trailer in superb fashion. Having recently won our first race at Watkins Glen, we were carrying good momentum into the event. The car was strong during the practice sessions, and I was able to manage a hard fought pole position during qualifying. At the drop of the green flag, I drove as hard as possible to open up a sizable gap from my competitors. That stint almost seemed surreal at the time as everything just came together perfectly...one of those special moments in a driver's career. I handed the car off to my teammate, Leh Keen, and he proceeded to continue our Brumos Racing dominance on that day. In the end, the victory was a very special one as it really set the stage for our championship that season."

Robin Liddell: “I have had some great runs there in the past, sadly just not with Stevenson! I won there in LMP2 in 2004 with Intersport, finished second in GT2 in the Panoz in 05. That was a great race for us and won Rolex GT for Tafel in 06...have always loved the track but with the GM cars we have struggled with tire life, contact, etc. I’m really hoping the Camaro Z/28.R will be competitive there, and based on previous results I think that should be the case! Really great times being back with Stevenson and Andrew (Davis) and a new program to get our teeth into!

Andy Lally: “Last year was an extremely tough but eventually rewarding year for me at Laguna. I had two races there, one in ALMS and one in Rolex. At the ALMS race there in May we overcame a loose wheel early in the race that put us two laps back. We rebounded and not only got back on the lead lap but took the lead and pulled away. A full course yellow with 10 minutes left set up a one lap (yes, one lap… never before done in the ALMS series) shoot out to the finish. The Green-Checker shootout was a mess as expected and unfortunately I was punted off the road by a prototype dive-bombing me into Turn 5. With only half a lap to go by the time I got back on track I was in second with no hope. That was a very tough day to swallow. That moment ate at me and still does but the one thing that made me feel better was returning to Laguna in September for the Rolex race and taking the lead with 30 minutes to go. Again, we had a yellow close to the finish setting up a two lap battle to the finish. During the pace laps I could not believe I was in the same exact situation. I was able to lead the restart and take the win closing out my 2013 Laguna Seca adventures in a positive way.”

Matt Bell: “I'd say I have two memories that stand out to me. First, was my first race ever, which happened at my home track. I had a very fast car, and knew what I was doing on my own, but forfeited to second place because I didn't know how to pass the lead car-- video games and simulators leave that part out!

“The second memory was just a couple years ago. Stevenson Motorsport had given me an absolutely perfect car. It was everything I needed to run away with the lead. I don't remember how big of a gap it was, but I don't recall seeing too much in my mirrors for a little while. It's the sort of thing drivers dream about: having a car that suits your driving style. Every time we're back at Laguna I think back to how the car felt that day. I then try and find out what we can change to close up on the differences. I'm definitely feeling confident with the new Z/28.R. It is so much more of a fundamental race car than the SS was. Little bit of luck in our direction and we should see a podium finish. Risking a jinx, I've still never finished below second there and I don't plan on giving that record up quite yet!"


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