Daytona Beach, Fla. (23 January 2014) – Stevenson Motorsports took its first official IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge qualifying laps with the new Camaro Z/28.R on Thursdayas Matt Bell piloted the No. 9 Camaro and Stevenson teammate Andrew Davis campaigned the No. 6 Camaro. Despite only having one flying lap due to a lengthy red-flag that came early in the 15-minute session, both Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R machines netted a top-10 starting spot for Friday’s Daytona Rising 200 (Fox Sports 2,6:00 PM ET broadcast/Friday).
Bell, who will share the No. 9 Camaro with sportscar veteran Andy Lally as his co-driver, logged the fifth quickest time on his one flying lap with a time of 1:56.750-seconds. Davis took his first laps of the weekend in the No. 6 Camaro Z/28.R during the qualifying session and took eighth on the grid with his fast lap of 1:56.786-seconds.
“The car did what we asked it to do and it’s a testament to GM and a testament the team,” said Bell of driving the new Camaro Z/28.R machinery. “They really thought through this car. We took a big bite out it before qualifying and it seems to have worked out alright. It’s just making the same kind of call now for the race.”
“I’m really proud of the Stevenson guys,” said Davis. “We’ve had some motor issues so they’ve been working on it all weekend. That was literally my only two laps of the whole weekend in the car so far so it was certainly a pressure situation when you just go right into qualifying but I was able to dig a little bit and get a decent time and I didn’t have a draft or anything. It seemed really close – I think another tenth and I think we would have been up into the top-five. I’m proud of the guys and we’ve got a good car for the race. We’ll go get them tomorrow!”
Stevenson Motorsports has finished runner-up in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge championship in the previous two years and the team worked hard during the off season to make sure both cars were ready to return to championship form for 2014 beginning with the Daytona event. Having arrived to the famous Florida circuit – which features 3.56-miles of high banking and twisty infield sections – on Wednesday, the team utilized three practice sessions ahead of qualifying to work out the intricacies of the new car.
“First of all it was just great to get the Z28s out – they are great,” offered Team Manager Mike Johnson. “Everyone keeps coming up to us and telling us how great-looking they are and they really are gorgeous cars. It’s really a testament to the crew because they had very little time to get these cars ready. We knew about this program a few months ago, but to build the cars, test them, get them ready and then get them out on the racetrack and be able to qualify them both in the top-10 in a very tough class like this is really awesome. We still have a few teething issues we are working through and a few issues we are going to work on through the race. But our whole goal this weekend is to start the season with two top-10s and then get back to development so we are in a better shape for Sebring.”