Davis, Liddell Score Second Straight In Stevenson Camaro In Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge At Mazda Raceway

Please see attached press release, below is a text-only version.

Davis, Liddell Score Second Straight In Stevenson Camaro

In Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge At Mazda Raceway

Carbonell, Dwyer Give Mazda Fifth Straight Home Track Victory With Last-Lap Pass

MONTEREY, Calif. (May 2, 2015) – Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis used an early strategic call and late-race muscle to give Stevenson Motorsports its second consecutive Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Liddell prevailed in a three-car, 13-minute sprint to the finish, with the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R winning over the Ford Mustang Boss 302R of Billy Johnson and the Nissan 370Z of BJ Zacharias by just .552 seconds.

It was the first of two thrilling finishes in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race, with Andrew Carbonell capping an improbable last-lap charge to take the ST victory. The win provided an emotional storybook win for teammate USMC Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer. Dwyer’s second career win came with USMC Sgt. Aaron Denning – who saved Dwyer’s life after the explosion in Afghanistan and was on hand at the track with Dwyer for the first time – looking on.

The overall win by Liddell and Davis was decided by some strong driving and a savvy pit stop.

“The Mustang came out of nowhere – they were on new tires – and they were the strongest car at the end,” said Liddell, who scored his sixth career victory in the series. “I could see Billy was really strong under breaking, but I was able to defend my position and stay ahead of him at the end. This is a track where we traditionally struggle and didn’t come in with high expectations, but we kept the hammer down and stayed smart.”

A key call came only 25 minutes into the two and a half hour race, when Ray Mason in No. 76 Compass360 Subaru was stranded after contact with Charles Putman in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage. Anticipating a caution, Stevenson Motorsports team manager Mike Johnson called Davis into the pits.

“That changed our strategy vs. everybody else,” Davis said. “It put me in a frustrating position – having to come from way in the back – but it was a lot of fun working clean but hard against a great bunch of drivers. I was able to get us back to the front, and Robin did a tremendous job to hang on and win.”

The two Stevenson Camaros were running 1-2 following a restart with 36 minutes remaining. Lawson Aschenbach led in the No. 9 Camaro started on the pole by Matt Bell, which had dominated the race up until that point. With the Zacharias Nissan closing in, and Johnson also gaining ground after taking on tires during the caution, Liddell passed his teammate for the lead with 22 minutes remaining.

Glenn Nixon then went off course and got stuck in the gravel in the LAP No. 51 MINI John Cooper Works, bringing out the fourth and final caution.

“I didn’t have power for him, but Multimatic called perfect race strategy, getting me tires near the end,” Johnson said. “We were able to charge to the front, and we were there on the brakes and the corners, but not quite enough to get it done on the straights. Who knows? Maybe another lap or two, I could have got him, but not today.”

Zacharias held on for third, .836 seconds back, in the Nissan 370Z started by teammate Brad Jaeger.

“I felt if the race stayed green the rest of the way we had something for the Camaro,” said Zacharias. “We didn’t need that last yellow. It was good to get some points and get back into the championship.”

The victory enabled Davis and Liddell to unofficially open a nine-point lead in the standings (102-93) over Matt and Hugh Plumb, who finished fourth in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911.

Carbonell Scores Storybook Finish For Dwyer With Last-Lap Pass

It would be hard to top the script of Dwyer’s first ST victory, when he teamed with Tom Long to win at Lime Rock Park on Memorial Day weekend in 2014 on the third anniversary of his near-fatal injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan.

But Dwyer did just that on Saturday. Co-driver Carbonell passed Long for the lead on the final lap with only two turns remaining with Dwyer and Denning – who waved the green flag to start the race – cheering from the team’s pit box.

“I didn’t think the emotions from Memorial Day could be matched,” Dwyer said. “But to have Sgt. Denning here – and see me win like this, to see what this has done for my recovery – is hard to describe. It seems too good to be true.”

Dwyer was running 12th when he pitted to turn the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 over to Carbonell. Rejoining the race in 22nd, Carbonell then went to work.

He was running fourth but behind the lead trio when the final caution waved with 18 minutes remaining. Carbonell closed in at the restart. He got around Christian Szymczak to take second racing to the white flag, and then passed Long for the lead in Turn 10 on the final lap, holding off his teammate by .247 seconds.

Carbonell scored his third consecutive victory at Mazda Raceway – and fourth in five years – while Mazda recorded its fifth straight triumph at its home track.

“At the end of the day, it was no easy job catching up to that lead pack,” Carbonell said. “Once I did, it was all a matter of putting it all together. It was fair, clean racing. Tom made a little mistake, and I was able to get by. It’s good, hard racing in the Continental Tire Challenge.”

Long held on for second in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 started by Britt Casey Jr., a 17-year-old racing for the second time in the series. Szymczak took third in the No. 34 Alara Racing Mazda MX-5 started from the pole by Justin Piscitell.

“I slid a little coming out of Turn 9 on the last lap, and that enabled Andrew to get a run on me and get by in Turn 10,” Long said. “Overall, it was a 1-2 for the team and a podium sweep for Mazda. It was also a great race for Britt, running here for the first time.”

Unofficially, Greg Liefooghe and Eric Zimmerman – who finished 13th in the No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman – are tied for the ST points lead with Ted Giovanis and David Murry – 12th in the No. 64 Team TGM BMW 328i – with 81 points each. Entering the race sixth in the standings, 20 points behind, Carbonell and Dwyer are now third but only three points back with 78.

Contact:

Nate Siebens

Senior Manager, IMSA Communications

(386) 310-6568

nsiebens

CTSC Post Race Release – Mazda Raceway.pdf

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: