The Grand-Am 200 at Daytona International Speedway will mark the start of the season for Matt Bell and John Edwards as the pair aim to improve upon their second place in the standings for Stevenson Motorsports in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge.
The second place last season – for Bell alone, Edwards missing the rounds at Barber Motorsports Park and Homestead-Miami Speedway due to a non-racing related injury – came despite a slow start to the season, only scoring their first top ten at Mid-Ohio, the fifth round of the ten round championship. However a string of top tens in the second of the championship, including a win at Laguna Seca secured second in the points in the Grand Sport class.
“Last year Matt finished second in the Drivers’ Championship, and we had a horrible start to the year so I think this year we just need to stay out of trouble in those early races,” said Edwards. “In the Continental Tire series you never know what can happen–the race that we had the hardest impacts last year was the only race we won! So you just have to make what you can out of it. As far as actually getting the car down I think we’re in the best spot we’ve been in the two years I’ve been here. This year I’m taking better care of myself and planning to stay in it for the whole season. I think if we can maintain that consistency with our new engineering program and we have the consistency of Matt and I staying together for a third year, I think we can win a couple races and hopefully fight for the championship at the end.”
The experienced pairing and their Chevrolet Camaro face tough opposition in the GS class of the series, entry numbers frequently topping 30 and featuring teams fielding a variety of machinery.
“We’re always learning about the car and it is always getting better,” said Bell. “Being second in the driver championship and third in the team points, we had a good year last year and sorted out a lot of things with set up and reliability. So now it’s down to how fast can we make a street Camaro go against these Porsches and BMWs and now the Aston Martin, which is basically a GT4 car. So I think we are doing quite well, and if luck is in our favour, it could be a season where we take it.”