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Aug 10, 2014 - 02:28 PM
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Stevenson Motorsports Continues Podium Streak at Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 10, 2014 - 02:23 PM
Sports Cars
Stevenson Motorsports Continues Podium Streak at Road America


After a storming drive all the way from 16th to second place in the final half hour of the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America, Robin Liddell stretched Stevenson Motorsports’ late-season podium streak to four races on Saturday.

 

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The 2.5-hour race at Road America was an eventful one for the brother Stevenson Camaros as both ran strong throughout but were pinged for late-race penalties.

Unfortunately for Andy Lally in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R, the penalty came too late for him to fight his way back up the pack and he took the checkered flag in 14th position after taking over from co-driver Matt Bell. The result was a disappointing one after Lally had led the race and ran in podium contention for most of his stint.

Andrew Davis began Round 9 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge from fifth position in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R while Bell started off in third in the No. 9 machine. But a dynamic race start saw the two lose ground early in the opening corners.

“That was certainly one of the most hectic races I have ever been a part of,” said Davis. “Right from the start, you have to pick a side and I obviously picked the wrong one because I went from P4 to P11 in Turn-1 and I just had to put my head down and pick off one car at a time. I made up some ground and was able to keep in touch with the leaders.”

When the race returned to green 15 minutes in, both Davis and Bell quickly set to work making up for lost positions. By the time Bell pitted to take on fuel, four fresh Continental Tires and to cede control to Lally, he had made his way all the way up to third place.

Davis pitted just after the No. 9 machine and had also made an impressive seven position gain to hand the car over to Liddell in third.

After cycling out into ninth place, Lally was quickly up to speed in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R and easily running faster than the three cars ahead of him. The pit rotation saw Liddell cycle back into the pack in sixth place and he also made his way up to speed and into podium contention.

With just 51 minutes remaining of green flag racing, both Stevenson Camaros pitted together for a splash of fuel to run to the end.

But the race was compromised as series officials deemed a pit lane speed violation on Liddell and forced him back to 16th with just over half an hour left to run. Another penalty shortly thereafter on Lally in the sister No. 9 machine ultimately robbed him of the lead.

Sitting way back in the pack, Liddell capitalized on the penultimate re-start of the race and systematically worked his way up into the top-five as the race waned to less than half an hour remaining.

A final full-course caution fell with just minutes remaining to race. As the field went back to green with just one lap to go it was clear the end was going to be an exciting one, but no one would have predicted the master class in passing Liddell was about to put on.

In one flying lap around the 4-mile circuit, Liddell worked his way from a respectable top-five finish all the way to the second step of the podium, displaying the strength of the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R and his abilities as a driver and scoring his fourth podium of the season.

“To be honest, we knew we didn’t have a car that could pass really well and sitting in 16th with 40-some minutes to go, you don’t think you are going to go anywhere,” said Team Manager Mike Johnson. “Robin has had some drives in his career that are truly outstanding where he somehow finds a whole different level and today was definitely one of those. Whether the penalty was Robin’s fault or not, he knew what he had to do. When the chips are on the line we didn’t give up on the championship when probably everybody else did. We gained four points when we thought we were going to lose 20. Today wasn’t the best day for us, we definitely did it the hard way, but Robin gets all the credit.”

"I thought we were completely out of the game,” said Liddell about getting the penalty. “But as always, I was going to go 100 percent. I did the best I could, and we managed to make up a lot of spots. In the end, it was a great performance by the team again. We just have to be happy that we finished in front of the No. 46. That really was the goal today. The car performed very very well. We were able to capitalize on other people's mistakes and make some positions. A difficult race, a lot of contact out there. But very very happy for the guys and everyone involved. Obviously, having Chevrolet and the Camaro Z/28.R get this victory is great. At the end of the day, the car performs very well at all the tracks. To come back and get on the podium after the penalty is just a testament to the performance of the car and the work from Stevenson Motorsports, Chevrolet, and Pratt and Miller.”

“I was able to bring it in and Robin got the car back up to P3 and I thought we had regained control of the race when we had that penalty,” said Davis. “And then it looked very dismal, and then the way everything happened at the end and to be up there on the podium in second place is just absolutely amazing. I’m very proud of the team, they just don’t quit, they continue to dig just like Robin and myself. And Robin obviously did a stellar job to bring it from that far back where he very easily could have given up or made a mistake out of frustration. But he put his head down and got us great points. We gained points on the championship and that is the most important part so job well done to everyone!”

Stevenson Motorsports will look to continue their positive momentum and streak of podiums as they next head to Virginia International Raceway on August 22-23.

Be sure to tune in to the broadcast of the race from Road America on August 17 at 12:00 PM (ET).

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