Getting through a hard day of work can be a battle, whether it be because of a mountain of paperwork, loads of phone calls, or just daily duties that seem to stretch on forever. But professional race car drivers John Edwards and Matt Bell take on a different kind of battle than most when it comes to their job – driving the Stevenson Motorsports Camaros. For Edwards and Bell, competing in the Grand-Am Continental Sports Car Festival last weekend brought about a battle even trickier than most for the two drivers. In a race that was one for the record books, Edwards and Bell piloted the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R to a last-minute victory, but it wasn’t without some battle wounds as we found out from Forgeline’s Facebook page.
The No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro, sister car to the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R that races in the GT class of the Rolex series, went into the 12-round Grand-Am race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on September 8th with an eighth qualifying position thanks to Bell, however battling for a qualifying position was only a small percentage of the work the team had to get done. In what the Stevenson Motorsports’ Facebook page claims was “one of the craziest GS races in history,” the No. 9 Camaro ran to the front at the beginning of the 2.5 hour race, but the team’s time in prime position was short lived.
After out of sequence pit stops, the No. 9 car fell back in the pack. Eventually, they were forced into another out of sequence pit stop due to a collision on lap 28 that damaged the front and rear of the Camaro. Luckily, the team was able to move back up to a fifth-place position with their still damaged car. Eventually, the Camaro moved up to third behind the front-running No. 83 Porsche driven by David Empringham and second-place No. 13 Porsche driven by Matt Plumb.
As luck would have it, both Empringham and Plumb had jumped an earlier restart and had to serve stop-and-go penalties, opening the door for the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro to take the lead with just four laps of the race remaining.
But the battle wasn’t quite won there. On the final lap, the No. 9 Camaro once again sustained heavy contact, this time by the second-place No. 35 Subaru driven by Andrew Aquilante at the course’s famous Andretti Hairpin. The contact left Aquilante’s car in flames while Edwards finished off the race with victory for the Stevenson Motorsports team for the second year in a row at Laguna Seca.
To say that Bell and Edwards went through battle with the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro on Saturday would be an understatement and the condition of the car after the race proves it. But, as Forgeline points out on their Facebook page, at least the car’s yellow GA3R wheels still looked nice and pretty.
The No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro will be back in action for the Grand-Am Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park, and the final race of the season on Saturday, September 29th. Be sure to tune in to the race on Speed that day to watch the Stevenson Motorsports team battle for their last chance to break into the top 3 final standings.