TEAM NEWS: Stevenson Corvette's Luck Runs Out At Daytona

Photo by John Thawley With just two laps to go in the Daytona Brumos Porsche 250 race, the ninth race of the season for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Reserves, Dominic Cicero II coasted to a stop out of gas. The team gambled they had enough fuel in the tank to keep up the fast pace that had them running the #57 Corvette as high as fourth in the race all the way to the checkered flag. But gambling can make you look very smart or very foolish. In this case, team owner Johnny Stevenson wishes he could have hedged his bet with just a few more gallons of gas.

"We knew it would be close at the end. But we made the decision to go for it. What can I say except that we were so close this time, yet we finished so far away."

The team had not been able to post a time in qualifying because of an accident in practice.

Bunting: "We missed the majority of practice and qualifying because I had contact with the Armco exiting turn one."

Repairs take time but the end result of the crew's hard work was to hand over a race-ready car. And despite starting at the back of the grid, Cicero and co-driver Marc Bunting seemed to have the car dialed in as they continued a move through the field that very nearly may have put them next in line for a podium placing.

At one point, Bunting had to pit earlier than expected when his seatbelt came undone.

"I was forced to stop early in my stint when the seatbelt came unbuckled. At that point Dominic got in and drove the rest of the way. He did a great job."

Cicero did keep the Corvette moving forward until he found all the gas had been consumed and the engine quit. He immediately pulled the car off the circuit and out of the way of the rest of the field. He wound up sitting on the sidelines, watching everyone go by for two laps, which meant they gave away what was probably one of their most promising finishes this season, instead ending up 13th in the final results.

But this race served notice that the #57 Crawford-chassis Stevenson Corvette, and the Stevenson Motorsports Team, have finally come to grips with how to tweak their car into contention. Save an errant gamble that came up dry -- literally and figuratively -- this team might have actually tasted podium champagne.

The next race is at Iowa Speedway on July 14th.

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