Matt Bell Wins at Road America With Edwards
Matt Bell and his Stevenson Motorsports co-driver John Edwards delivered an outstanding start-to-finish performance at Road America to score his first victory of the season in his race debut at the historic Wisconsin road course. Bell and Edwards combined to run at the front of the field throughout the entire 2.5-hour race with the No. 9 Camaro GS.R leading a race-high 27 laps.
Bell delivered another dominant performance as he opened the Road America 200 with a charge to the front – making up six positions in just the first lap. Laying down consistently quick lap times, Bell methodically moved his way forward into the second position by lap seven and challenged for the lead prior to the first full course caution as the SPEED commentators raved about his car control and deep braking capabilities.
Bell set up an excellent pass to take over the point on the restart. From that point, he did not look back while growing his gap to the rest of the field with a 5.6 second lead and setting the best lap speed of the race at 100.274 mph in the process.
“It was awesome and it’s right where Stevenson Motorsports should be,” said Bell of the opening stint. “We struggled a bit in qualifying but we sat down and figured it out and our engineer Nick Eddy gave us a great set up. There was a lot of clean driving with cars running side by side without incident, so I’m happy about it. This is what GRAND-AM is all about!”
Stevenson Motorsports benefited from a full course caution which came out as the No. 9 Camaro was already in pit lane for the team’s first pit stop and driver change. Bell handed the car over to Edwards who re-joined the field in the eighth position, but as the rest of the GS field took advantage of the caution to hit pit lane, Edwards would cycle through to pace the field at the restart.
Edwards endured an intense battle for the lead as he swapped positions with the No. 61 Mustang over several laps. He soon took over the lead for good on lap 38 and began to put a gap over the Roush entry. A major incident caused the race’s final caution on lap 39. Significant damage to a concrete track barrier could not be repaired in the final 15 minutes of the race, and the Road America 200 would end under caution with Bell and Edwards taking the victory.
Bell delivers Camaro’s first win for Chevrolet in addition to previously earning the first podium, first pole and first laps led in the Camaro.
“We had great timing with the pit stop and John (Edwards) did a great job,” said Bell, who marks his third GS victory with this win. “This is good. I wasn’t very confident about our race after the way we didn’t fully perform in qualifying. So this is just great to be on top and to bring Camaro a first win for Chevrolet. I’m very excited and already can’t wait for the next race.”