Lexington, OH. (Jun. 16). Hot on the heels of a four podium streak in both GRAND-AM Road Racing Series, John Edwards and the Stevenson Motorsports crew earned a fifth podium finish at Mid-Ohio in the Diamond Cellar Classis.
John Edwards and the 9 CamaroIn the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, co-driver Matt Bell qualified the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro in 8th for Saturday’s race after struggling in practice at the classic road course. Bell ran an impressive stint, gaining five spots to run in third in the first 32 laps. John took over the driving duties in lap 36 during a full course caution, ready to charge ahead for a podium finish. As the rest of the GS field cycled through for pit stops, John sat in 4th place. Another caution aided Stevenson’s race strategy, as they made the call for John to remain on course while the competitors pitted. Ultimately, John finished the race in third, earning the third-straight podium for Stevenson Motorsports.
“We did what we could with a car that wasn’t the quickest today,” said Edwards. “We had a really fast car in Atlanta but we struggled in practice here. Really I think we were aiming for top five and ended up on the podium there. But that’s a good finish and that’s what wins championships.” Edwards and Bell hold second place in the championship point standings, nine points away from the title position. The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be air June 23 at 4:00 PM Eastern on SPEED.
In the Rolex Sports Car Series, John qualified the No. 57 Stevenson Camaro on the pole position Friday afternoon and led the GT field to green the following afternoon. The early laps of the race were littered with three yellows, but John held onto the lead every lap of his stint with Boris Said close behind in the 31 Corvette. During his entire stint, John raced conservatively, knowing the team’s main opponent in the championship points was a lap down.
John Edwards in the 57 Camaro at Mid Ohio“The car was good,” said Edwards. “We made a couple of changes throughout practice just little things to help the car but the opening stint was good. Starting from the pole is a good spot to be in, but once Bill (Auberlen) got in the 94 car it proved that their car had an edge on us.” In lap 35, John pitted in first place, and the Camaro took on fuel, tires and a new driver with Robin Liddell in to finish the race. Liddell held onto the lead until lap 65, when the BMW of Bill Auberlen successfully made the pass for the lead. The BMW and the Camaro pitted shortly after, along with the 61 Ferrari. Just two weeks before, the team earned their third consecutive win on the streets of Detroit and the strong performance of the car at Mid-Ohio suggested a fourth might be on the horizon.
While exiting pit lane, the Camaro had side by side contact with the Ferrari, resulting in damages for both cars. The Camaro pitted for a new right rear tire, falling down to ninth place. A stop plus sixty second penalty pushed the team to tenth, where they remained for the rest of the race.
“I think we had a very competitive car, but unfortunately we just had a bit of contact in pit lane on the last stop, said Edwards. “That plus the stop + 60 second penalty put us out of the race. Fortunately, the 63 car also didn’t have a great day. But in the end we lost some ground in the championship.”
John’s next GRAND-AM event with Stevenson Motorsports will be July 27-20 at Watkins Glen International.
Photos: Juha Lievonen, PhotosByJuha.com