Fourth Consecutive Top 10 Finish for No. 9 Stevenson Camaro GS.R at Indy
Red flag negates tire choice at rain soaked inaugural Brickyard Sports Car Challenge
After an unwelcome red flag late in the race - a period that started in the wet and ended under dry track conditions - the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GS.R driven by Matt Bell and John Edwards found itself wearing the wrong shoes. At the last driver change, the team opted to go with rain tires but soon after coming back onto the then-wet track, a red flag period began and by the time it ended, the rains had ceased. This left John Edwards 'out to dry' putting him at a distinct disadvantage to the rest of the GS field for the run to the finish in this, the eighth round of the 2012 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series and the first sports car race ever run at the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Despite the setback, the team went on to capture their fourth consecutive top ten finish in the series.
Coming into Indy, the team felt a great sense of potential success lay ahead as they had registered the quickest lap times in the Indy test sessions that took place a few weeks earlier. When the time came to go racing, Matt Bell had given the team further reason to be optimistic as he qualified the Camaro GS.R third. After a good start, Bell was able to get the No. 9 car up to the front and worked his way up to a 10 second lead over the rest of the field. It surely looked to be a great day for the team.
And then it started to rain.
The team elected to come in and change to rain tires during a full course yellow. When they went back out onto the track, with an hour of racing yet to come, the worst possible circumstance occurred: GRAND-AM waved the red flag due to the rain. This put all the cars at idle meaning no one could make changes to their cars during the red flag period.
After a 45 minute delay the track dried out and GRAND-Am again waved the green flag for about a 15 minute sprint to the finish. With the No. 9 car still on the brand new rain tires, the advantage was lost. Others came into the pits to change to slicks but Team Manager Mike Johnson elected to stay out on the wets thinking there would not be enough time left in the race to get back in the lead after a second stop.
They finished in eighth place with their only consolation being that they were the highest placed of the cars that also elected not to switch to slicks once racing resumed.