Stevenson Motorsports’ Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis were able to extend their championship lead in the 2015 Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Friday, earning their fourth win of the year at Circuit of the Americas. The victory also gives Chevrolet and the Camaro Z/28.R a wider lead in the manufacturer standings with 15 points over Porsche and 22 over Ford.
Pit strategy helped Liddell and Davis take the win, with team manager Mike Johnson electing to take two left side tires under caution with one hour remaining. The team rejoined the race in second behind Shelby Mustang GT350R-C driver Jade Buford, who stayed out under the yellow and was on older tires. Rum Bum Racing’s Matt Plumb forfeited his first place position in order to take four tires and restarted in fifth.
Not long after the restart, Liddell was able to get around the Mustang, a crucial move that came not long before Plumb was forced to pull off course with a fan belt failure in his Porsche 911. Liddell was then able to easily pull away, taking the checkered flag 1.292 seconds ahead of Buford’s Shelby teammate Billy Johnson. Nissan Nismo GT Academy driver 370Z Scott Maxwell finished third.
“We had to get track position – that’s the only game we have right now,” Johnson said of his idea to take just two left side tires. “I was really surprised to see Rum Bum take four tires, because they had the dominant car all day. When I saw that, I knew we had to beat them out of pit lane. I was just hoping we got enough fuel in. I’m sad for the Rum Bum guys, but really happy for Stevenson (Motorsports) today.”
The IMSA Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge will run its final race of the season when both it and the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship head to Road Atlanta for Petit Le Mans on October 1.