Action Express Racing and Stevenson Motorsports Repeat as Winners
Action Express Racing driver Joao Barbosa battled his way to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen International last year in the difficult and prestigious GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Six Hours of The Glen. Today, behind the wheel of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (DP) with his new co-driver, Christian Fittipaldi, Barbosa made a return trip to the Winner’s Circle to occupy the top step on the podium and once again collect the winner’s trophy for the overall win.
The pair combined to lead 30 of the 171 laps completed in the six-hour race that saw bright sunny conditions quickly replaced with heavy rain that was just as quickly replaced with blue skies and warmer temperatures. Fittipaldi held off all challengers in the final stint of the race to bring the Corvette DP to the checkered flag first.
It is the second consecutive win and the third consecutive podium finish for Barbosa and Fittipaldi this season. The victory moved the team from fifth in the DP team standings to third.
Not to be outdone, John Edwards and Robin Liddell powered the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R to the win in the Rolex Series Grand Touring Class (GT), also for the second consecutive year. The pair combined to lead a race-high 67 laps of the 164 run by the leaders in the GT class.
It is the fourth victory in the last five races for Edwards and Liddell, and closed the team to within six points of the leaders in the GT class standings.
"Our Chevrolet teams rose to the occasion today, and dealt with some changing and sometimes difficult circumstances throughout the Six Hours of the Glen,” said Jim Lutz, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. “It is always a rewarding experience for everyone associated with the Team Chevy program in the Rolex Series to score a win in both Daytona Prototype and Grand Touring as we did today. Congratulations to the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP team and the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro team on their repeat victories in this prestigious race."
DRIVER POST RACE QUOTES:
NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DAYTONA PROTOTYPE, OVERALL AND DP RACE WINNER:
CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI: ON HIS THOUGHTS AS THE RACE CAME TO A CLOSE: “I don’t know. I was on the limit all the time.”
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE RACE. THAT WAS A FANTASTIC FINAL FEW LAPS. WERE YOU MORE CONCERNED ABOUT MICHAEL VALLENTE CATCHING YOU, OR THOSE LAPPED CARS THAT BOTH OF YOU WERE STARTING TO APPROACH ON THE FINAL LAP?
“I guess both. I knew that the No. 3 car had a very strong piece. They showed it a couple of times during the race. They were definitely stronger than us. But I think we played the game better than they did. And we, as a team, won the race today. Hats off to Joao, who drove an outstanding stint. And man, I’m very happy. Two in a row is a very nice feeling. We led at the three-hour mark and won the race, so it couldn’t have been a better weekend.”
YOU ALMOST HAD A FLAWLESS BECAUSE THERE AT THE END WHEN YOU WERE GOING THROUGH THE BOOT, YOU GOT SIDEWAYS. WHAT HAPPENED THERE? AND DID YOU THINK YOU MIGHT HAVE THROWN AWAY THE WIN?
“I was under limit. I was very heavily under limit every single lap that I could do and maybe I ran a little bit over a little bit. But I managed to catch it, I guess. That’s where 42 years of age and 20-some years of 30 years of racing counts a little bit. And I’m happy that that came into the play. That definitely helped me a little bit like experience over there and it was a great week and a great day. We didn’t have the quickest car on the track today. And I just think that the whole group as a team did an excellent job.”
JOAO BARBOSA: TALK ABOUT THE CHEMISTRY BETWEEN YOU AND CHRISTIAN AND THE TEAM: “It is working isn’t it? It’s like they say ‘We are in it to win it’. This was a great points day for us. We led at the three-hour mark. We led at six hours. We won the race overall. It is looking great for us in the points now. I think we made a great click. This Action Express team, man…the chemistry that is going on is unbelievable. The car is running excellent. Christian did a fantastic job. He is a little worn out, but he’ll get over it (SMILES). What can I say, this group of guys has done a tremendous job, and the car drove awesome today.”
HOW SATISFYING IS THIS TO HAVE TWO WINS IN A ROW? LAST YEAR, YOU WERE USUALLY AT TEAM AROUND FOURTH OR FIFTH. NOW, YOU ARE SHOWING UP AND WINNING RACES. “I don’t agree with that. We won the Six Hours last year. So, this team has been doing phenomenal. Obviously the chemistry is working so well and we were able to make the car go fast and these guys are awesome. They did a tremendous job. Every pit stop was great and we were able to bring the car home again in first place. Two wins and a second-place in the last three races and it is looking good. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.”
NO. 57 STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS CAMARO GT.R, GT CLASS WINNER:
JOHN EDWARDS: YOU HAD TO SIT THERE AND WATCH ROBIN WORK SO HARD THAT LAST STINT, HOW HARD IS THAT? “It was really tough, especially with the changing conditions. I’ve always said I prefer to be in the car at the end, because sitting on the pit stand I just get a nervous twitch going on with my leg. That is the worst part of the race for me. When I got out of the car, that was the most nervous part for me. Ultimately the car was good in the dry, and we were hoping it wouldn’t rain because those conditions are really tough, and you might throw it off even if you are as good of a driver as anyone can be.”
ROBIN LIDDELL: THE PRESSURE WAS ON THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH WASN’T IT? “Yes, I kept forcing myself to stay focused. That is a dangerous kind of gap to have, four seconds or so. I was fully expecting some rain, and we obviously saw some dark clouds coming, So I was expecting more rain, or a safety car or something. I was just trying to stay focused on the job at hand. I just want to say thanks to everybody here. The Camaro has been fantastic. John did a great job. I’ve been with this team for six years, and this is probably the best team result I’ve ever seen for us. Everyone contributed in such an important part. It was a proper team effort the whole weekend. I’m really, really happy for the guys. It was brilliant.”
YOU GUYS ARE ON FIRE. TELL US ABOUT YOUR RACE TODAY:
“Well, it was a tough race. Last year, we won this race and we were pretty dominant here, to be fair, last year. The chassis have always been good right here and obviously the guys, we’ve got probably the best crew out there. We’ve all in all got the best team in pit lane, I think. Obviously I think everybody made a massive contribution on the team. John hung on there when it was raining, on slicks. We were just trying to keep him calm and not worry too much about dropping time to the No. 69 because we knew it was going to turn into a mess, which it did. And then obviously we were still on slicks and they’d gone to wet. So confidence in the guys to do that and if we made a mistake, we made a mistake. But ultimately, we didn’t really have a car which we could drive away with. We had a car that was competitive, but not one that we could lead the rest of the pack, as last year. So we had to work a lot harder. But some good calls getting the car in just before that caution got us track position, and then near the end there just stopping a bit out of sequence to get track position in case it went yellow. I was really expecting some rain at the end, or a late caution, but it didn’t come. I just kept my head down and kept reeling off the laps. With a near to two-minute lap, that last 15 minutes goes quite quickly around here.”