Matt Bell Wins Second Consecutive Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Race

Matt Bell Wins Second Consecutive Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Race

Attached photo courtesy Wes Duenkel Photography


MONTEREY, Ca., 9 July – Matt Bell took the opening stint in the No. 9 Stevenson Chevy Camaro from the pole to drive away from the field before handing over to co-driver John Edwards who brought home the pair’s second consecutive win in GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition. This time, the win by a margin of just two seconds, came at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda.

Bell had earned the pole on Friday, and used it to full advantage as he drove his entire stint in the race lead with mainly nothing but open track ahead of him. There was also a lot of open track behind him as he made the most of his advantage and constantly grew his lead.

Following the race’s first early caution period which took place only two laps into the two and a half hour contest, Bell was able to consistently widen his margin over the field at a rate of half a second per lap. By lap 19, Bell’s lead was a tick over eight seconds when the next caution period ensued, giving the him the ideal opportunity to hand the reigns of the No. 9 machine over to Edwards.

“The Stevenson team worked hard to give me a nearly perfect car that I knew right from the start I would be able to drive fast,” said Bell shortly after the first pit stop. “It was a little disappointing to go yellow (flags) again while I was building such a lead, but the full course caution happened at just the right time. John’s (Edwards) got a great car with the recent modifications that we’ve made, tire wear shouldn’t be an issue, so it shouldn’t be hard for him to work his way back to the lead.”

Indeed, Edwards left the pits and went on a tear through the field. Having resumed in seventh position, Edwards was soon in second position chomping on the heels of the race leader.

A third caution period on lap 37 with just over an hour and a quarter remaining in the race blighted his chance to pass for the lead, but opened the door for Edwards to bring the No. 9 Camaro in for its final service.

Yet again, he resumed his pursuit from seventh position and this time, following another, brief full-course caution period, would make the pass for the lead in turn 2 on lap 48.

The final half hour of racing upon him, Edwards was followed closely by the second and third place machines. While he was unable to shake them from his tail, he never put a wheel wrong and despite the small buffer, seemed to easily control the race all the way to the checkered flag.

“It was the closest car to perfect that I’ve ever driven. Pole, fastest race lap and the win at my home track with all my family and friends and sponsors here – we are all going to have a good night tonight,” said an ebullient Bell on the top step of the podium.

The win also enables the No. 9 Stevenson Camaro to move into the a tie for second place overall in the team championship.

With a second straight Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge win in the bag, Bell had little time to celebrate. His race face was back as soon as he stepped from the podium preparing for his opening stint in the No. 23 Intersil Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley for the second race of the day in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

Relive the win when SPEED broadcasts the Continental Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda on July 17 at 1:00 PM EDT.

Matt Cleary
Sunday Group Management
317.908.2975 (m)

Based in Indianapolis, Sunday Group Management is a leading motorsports management and communications consulting firm.

Sunday Group Management works with clients in a variety of motorsports categories, including NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger, Riley Technologies, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series organization Michael Shank Racing, Continental Tire, and several teams and drivers in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition.

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