Trinkler, Bell, and Sweeney Stand Out in GRAND-AM's Continental Tire Series
Altamonte Springs, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/19/2010 -- P1 Groupe, the premiere motorsports management company, had three of its drivers emerge triumphant this past weekend at the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres at Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada. Owen Trinkler coming off his strong win at the Garden State 250, with team owner Randy Smalley kept the momentum going with a win in the ST Class in his RSR Mini Cooper. Fan favorite Matt Bell, one of the upcoming stars of GRAND-AM racing, finished with teammate, Jeff Bucknum in third for the duo’s second podium of the season and third Top-5 finish. Rising star, Mike Sweeney made his return to the series in the ST class at Trois-Rivieres did not disappoint fans earning his team its third Top-10 finish of the season. The Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres is part of GRAND-AM’s Continental Tire Series.
Matt Bell had a rough start to the weekend as the rear of his #6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro stepped out on him in his first lap of the weekend causing significant damage to the rear of the Sunoco Camaro. The team came through as they have all year long to give Bell, the winner of the 2009 Trois Rivieres round of the series, a car strong enough to allow Bell to muster a Top-10 qualifying effort. Bell would steadily make up ground on the leaders in the GS class of the Continental Tire Challenge Series before turning the car over to team mate Jeff Bucknum. Bucknum continued where Bell left off and crossed the line in 3rd for the duo's second podium of the season and third Top-5 finish.
“My all-in-one-day race weekend didn't get off to the start I had wanted, that was sure,” said Matt Bell. “Within the first four laps of the morning practice, I had found my way into two walls, damaging all four corners of our iconic blue and yellow Sunoco Camaro. It was an unfortunate mistake, and the first of its kind I've made so far in my career. We are very lucky that the Stevenson Motorsport crew is as dedicated to our race effort as they proved to be. All their work initially paid off as we rolled out for qualifying, with little time to spare.”
“I placed the car in 9th place, not really what I wanted to reward the crew with for their efforts,” continued Bell. “By the start of the race, Jeff and I knew we had to commit to fighting for some results for the exhausted team. By the first lap I had made up a couple places and when I handed the car over to Jeff, I had made it to the Top 5.”
“My efforts to the top were pale in comparison to the exciting race Jeff made for himself,” concluded Bell. With glowing brake rotors, Jeff made a pass for a spot on the podium with just a few corners left, on the final lap. With moments to spare in the exhausting event, the Sunoco Camaro driving team repaid all of Stevenson Motorsports teams’ work. The result was a testament to the hard working Stevenson crew and the effective competitiveness of even the most battle wounded Chevrolet Camaro. “Of course I would have never experienced any of these amazing feats if it wasn't for P1 Groupe placing me in the position to compete with such an incredible team in such an iconic car.” states Bell of his management team.
Mike Sweeney was making his return to the series and the ST class with a new team in Compass 360 after taking the last four rounds off. Sweeney would team with Gregory Liefooghe in the #77 Honda Civic SI and the tandem would be up to speed straight away posting the 6th fastest time of the first practice session. Sweeney would qualify the car 13th for the start of the race while having issues with the rev limiter kept him from reaching the ultimate pace with the car, and his steady pace throughout would see him running consistently in the Top-6 for much of the race before turning the car over to his co-driver who would bring the car home in 6th position for the teams third Top-10 finish of the season with the #77 entry.
“I'm so glad I got this opportunity, so a huge thanks goes out to Karl and his whole Compass360 Racing team, they built a great car and really run a tight ship,” said Mike Sweeney. “I love this event, the fans are amazing, and the track really rewards a smart, precise, and aggressive driver. We ran our race with that in mind. No one was going to beat the Mini or the MX-5s today, so I'm pretty happy with our result, but most importantly, I'm happy to be back in the series and in a front-running car!”
Keeping the momentum that he has shown in New Jersey just weeks earlier, Owen Trinkler drove his way to a second straight win in the ST Class in his RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S with teammate and team owner Randy Smalley. After leading more than 30 laps in 2009 and coming in with a half lap lead on the competition only to have the seat break during the driver change, Trinkler wanted the victory that escaped him a season ago. Trinkler set the pace all race weekend taking the fast lap in each of the two practice sessions, and Smalley qualified within the Top-10, less than one tenth of a second off their #197 team car of Cattaneo/Mirzayan. Trinkler took over the car from Smalley and took over the race shortly thereafter by passing Tom Long of Freedom Autosport team with 40 minutes remaining and led the final 32 laps of the 91 lap event in the #198 Cruise America/4 Winds RV Mini Cooper S.
“It was great to get that win that I thought the team earned a year ago,” said Owen Trinkler. “These last two races have really put the fire into this team and given Randy the results he's deserved as a driver, but even more as a team owner. Randy has helped a lot of drivers kick off their racing careers in his cars and I'm happy to not only be driving with him, but to have him standing next to me on the podium has been great.”
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