"This was our most frustrating event to date." Said Robin Liddell who, along with John Edwards pilots the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro in the 2012 Grand-Am Rolex Series season, He was referring to the sixth place finish the team achieved despite a lack of competitive balance in the GT class this season.
Because of a rainstorm that passed over the Road America circuit when qualifying was scheduled to take place, the GRAND-AM officials decided to grid the cars by their position in the standings. This meant the Stevenson team started second on the grid, a great place to begin what in the end would be a difficult race for the eagle-adorned Camaro.
Team Manager Mike Johnson: "We did not expect Road America to be a good track for us, so starting on the front row due to qualifying being rained out helped with our early track position. We had an early yellow which the No. 69 Ferrari and No. 59 Porsche decided to take, but since we figured the race would have a lot of green flag racing, we decided to stay out front and try to pull a gap on the field. The plan was to pit under green before the other pro drivers got into their respective cars. While this plan worked great in principal, we just didn't have the straight line speed to compete with the BMW, Mazdas and the Ferrari. We slowly moved down the order as we expected and had to settle for 6th."
John Edwards would like to see a change that results in a return to top form for the Camaro. His desire lies not with the team but with the rules for the series.
"The Stevenson Team continued to do the same great job that has delivered a streak of 4 podiums in a row coming into Road America," Edwards said, "but unfortunately the long straights at Road America served to emphasize our weakness in top speed. Ironically, the big American muscle car has been so limited in straight line speed by the series that we are one of the slowest cars down the straightaways. At a place like Road America, this makes it very tough for us to perform."
Edwards feels he had a good run if not for the lack of straight line speed.
"I drove under caution for a lot of my stint after there was a big crash in the early laps," Edwards declared, "but I was able to take the lead after the Ferrari pitted and Sylvain (Tremblay - No. 70 Mazda) made a mistake to allow me to get alongside. Although I led the rest of the stint, the faster pace of the other cars was much more obvious once the finishing drivers got in. At that point, we knew we would be lucky to get a top five thanks to our lack of straight line speed, and Robin came to the line fighting hard for that spot.