Utah: Stevenson Motorsports race report

Stevenson Camaros Finish 1 - 2 To Close Out 2010 Rolex Season GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 After 11 tough races this season the Stevenson Motorsports Team competing in the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car ...

Utah: Stevenson Motorsports race report

Stevenson Camaros Finish 1 - 2 To Close Out 2010 Rolex Season GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16

After 11 tough races this season the Stevenson Motorsports Team competing in the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, finally landed on the top two steps of the podium in the 12th and final race. The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports / VinSolutions / VonAllmen Capital Partners / Chevrolet Camaro GT.R, driven by Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell took home the win and the No. 97 Stevenson Motorsports / Lala Motorsports / VonAllmen Capital Partners / Chevrolet Camaro GT.R., driven by Gunter Schaldach and Jan Magnussen, finished right behind, with both cars being chased hard by a Mazda that seemed determined to split the American twins at the checkered flag.

Jan Magnussen kept the Mazda in his mirrors through the last few laps and as the three lead cars came across the finish line for the last time this season.

Team Manager Mike Johnson: "All I can say is - finally!!! The crew worked so hard all year for a win, and finishing 1-2 at the last race was so great for the team going into the off season, plus it moved the No. 57 back into 3rd place in the team points."

After a season that demonstrated a need for competitive adjustments early on - adjustments that came too late to have a positive impact on the GT class championships - and a season that held as much frustration as it did promise, the normally ultra-competitive Stevenson Team managed to capitalize on their new found opportunity to run up front. That is not to say there weren't moments of concern, as well as moments of complete teamwork.

Johnson: "We were so concerned the last hour of the race, because first we were short on fuel, then the yellows kept closing up the bunch. Jan was a bit quicker than Robin, but we needed the No. 57 to win for team points, so Jan had the hardest job out there, going fast enough to keep the No. 68 Mazda behind and slow enough to keep the No. 57 ahead. He really saved our season and gave the team a great result."

Andrew Davis wore the biggest smile in Utah when being interviewed by the SPEED TV reporters in Victory Lane.

Davis: ""What a great way to end the season! The entire Stevenson Motorsports organization has worked so hard to get the No. 57 VinSolutions/VonAllmen Capital Partners/Intersil Camaro GT.R on the top step of the podium, and it's really nice to have all that effort pay off in the finale. We certainly proved once again that Stevenson Motorsports does not give up, which made it even more meaningful to represent the team in victory lane."

Davis recounts his stint at the start of the race and his time as a pit lane spectator and cheerleader: "We had a decent car for qualifying, so I was able to put the car on the inside of the second row which put me in a great position to gain a spot on the way into turn one at the start of the race. From there, I simply tried to keep the pressure on the car in front until it was time for the first pit stop. I must say that the final hour was one of the most nerve-wracking races to watch from the pit lane. Robin did a stellar job to keep the car up front during the final stint, but it took some great driving from Jan in our sister car to keep a charging Mazda from ruining our day."

Robin Liddell too had a massive display of teeth for the cameras when he climbed out of the winning car.

Liddell: "This was a great result for everyone on the team, and it certainly makes up for a lot of the disappointment we experienced this season. It looked as though we had a good car when we were quickest for most of the first practice session of the weekend. I expected the BMW, Porsches and Corvettes to provide most of the competition, but in the end our biggest threat came from our team mate!"

Liddell continues telling the story of the race: "After the first stop, I came out of the pits on cold tires ahead of the No. 68 Mazda, which had already stopped, and I knew if I could keep him behind on the out lap we could probably pull out a gap once the tires came up. We managed to pull several seconds on them over the next few laps, and after the first caution, when we got the wave by, the guys did a super job in the pits and I pushed very hard on the out lap; as a result we got a significant lead over the No. 86 car.

"Jan was coming up fast in the No. 97 team car," Liddell said, "but so long as the race was green I felt we were in good shape with the lead we had. We were both instructed to save some fuel, and we could get around with a little bit better gas mileage than the No. 97 car, but with three safety car periods in the last stint, whilst this meant that the fuel mileage was then not an issue, it effectively cut our lead to zero.

"The car was great in the early part of the stints and I could do quick times without leaning on the car too hard, but with ten laps to go we were really struggling for grip and Jan did a great job of protecting the team position to finish one-two. After the tough position we have been in this season, getting the improved Pirelli rear tire for these last two races has really given the team a boost and hopefully this will give us the momentum to carry into next season."

Team Owner John Stevenson has watched his team work hard and work through difficult circumstances this season, struggling to find all the right pieces to make the new Chevrolet Camaro a successful race car: It was extremely rewarding for him to see those aspirations realized in the last two races with the American eagle-liveried Stevenson cars finding top finishes.

Stevenson: "This was a great finish to a bittersweet year! Susan and I are so proud of our team with their persistence through a very trying season. Under Mike Johnson's leadership, our team and our drivers never gave up. Wherever and whenever we unloaded, this organization put forth 100%. I appreciate all of their efforts. What a fantastic race to finish first and second and end the season on such a high note."

Liddell: "I have to thank Johnny and Susan as always, all the guys for all their hard work this year, and Mike and Kyle (Millay) for giving us a quick car and calling the right shots at the right time. Kyle has been with us for three seasons, and I will miss him very much but wish him all the very best as he undertakes a new challenge at Corvette Racing."

Johnson: "I am so happy for John and Susan for all the hardship and expense we had this year and they give us so much support and guidance which gives us the opportunity to succeed."

-source: stevenson motorsports

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