Stevenson Motorsports Pairing Take Road Atlanta Race Win

by James Broomhead
Edwards took the lead on the second round of pitstops on the race (Photo Credit: Grand-Am)

Matt Bell and John Edwards combined to give Stevenson Motorsports their first victory of this year’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, with intelligent strategy pushing the pair to victory at Road Atlanta.

Bell started the car from second on the grid, starting positions set by the points standings and held onto the position in the early stages behind Nick Longhi in the Rum Bum Racing Porsche. Longhi, sharing the #13 car with Matt Plumb was removed from the lead after contact with Jade Buford in the #55 Multimatic Motorsport Aston Martin, who stole through into the lead. Buford, however, would be removed from the lead to serve a 60 second stop-go penalty for his role in the contact.

Despite the punishment he and Scott Maxwell still combined to finish fourth, one place behind Multimatic teammates Nick Mancuso and Frank Montecalvo.

Ahead of them the race developed into a duel between the Stevenson Motorsports crew and the BGB Motorsport Porsche Carrera of Jim Norman and Andy Lally.

Both teams took advantage of the second of the day’s four full course caution periods to complete their driver changes correspondingly plummeting down the race order as different strategies started to play out.

As other teams made their own stops the pair rose back up the order inheriting the top two spots with an hour still to go when Mancuso pitted under green to hand over to Montecalvo as Edwards passed FallLine Motorsports’ Hugh Plumb on track to take second. Edwards was able to gain on Lally ahead in the laps immediately before both made their second stops – under green.

Lally stopped first, with Edwards coming to pit lane a lap later. But with a faster stop, as well as a rapid in lap while Lally was in the pits it was Edwards who emerged ahead of the pair and was promoted into the lead as the leaders’ stops cycled through.

An end to the two hours, 30 minutes race which could have – maybe should have – been a climax to the lead battle was instead dominated by caution flag, with two cautions coming in the final twenty laps. The final one, for Ian James’ Ford Mustang in the turn 12 barriers, allowed Edwards to complete the final half dozen laps under caution, taking the checkered flag beneath the yellow.

Terry Borcheller secured his first CTSCC win since 2004 with a pass on Connor Bloum to win the ST class of the race in the Burton Racing BMW he shares with Mike LaMarra. Borcheller, twice a Rolex 24 champion in the Rolex Series completed the pass shortly after the final restart in the race. Bloum held onto second place by a few second ahead of the i-Moto Mazda Speed 3 of Jayson Clunie and Pierre Kleinubing.

The ST class had given the race its first caution when the Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 of Derek Whitis lasted only a dozen laps from the class pole before retiring with suspension failure.

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