Columbia City, IN. – Triumph for the Stevens-Miller Racing team at Lime Rock Park with 100% of its drivers finishing in the Top Five. Evan Slater, of New Hampshire was the highest finisher amongst the squad coming in second, Tyler Kicera in fourth and Rhett Barkau coming in fifth.
The secret to its success was patience regarding strategy as weather conditions continued to change throughout the sprint race. From pouring rain conditions during the pre-grid ceremony to a dry track as the green flag dropped, and later back to down pouring. To its (SMR’s) surprise some teams almost immediately started falling back to conserve tires and others pitted during green flag laps to change to the dry slick racing tires. A move that would come with big consequences given the short lap times at Lime Rock Park. However, SMR and two other teams decided against coming in to change tires as pace was consistent, tire wear was manageable, and chances of the rain returning were high.
“I recall my time developing the Pirelli rain tire” stated team owner, Joe Stevens. “What most don’t know is that the TA2 Pirelli rain tire will last a 100-mile race in the dry if managed properly. In fact, most increases to wear come from acceleration and not lateral loading.”
Tyler Kicera, who sits P3 in the national championship had an incredible push from 8th as the green flag dropped. For most of the race Tyler was in P2 chasing the leader for the overall win. Tyler stated “These cars are so much fun in the wet. The LIQUI MOLY, Turn14 Distribution Camaro was so fast early on, driving up to P2. SMR made a great call, monitoring the weather, to know we needed to just stay out with rain on the way. I was able to hold P2 through multiple restarts and much of the rain, but grip was zero for me in the last ten laps and unfortunately lost two spots there. Overall, an incredible race so big thanks to the SMR guys for a great performance and strategy call to put us in contention.”
“I was very happy with my first Pro Podium with Trans Am, driving from starting position P8 to P2”, stated Slater. “I have been working on my starts, and I feel that paid off in my ability to advance position by turn 2. The variable weather presented a unique challenge; when rain is forecast to be on and off during an hour plus race, rains vs. slicks can be a make-or-break decision. I am happy to say Marc, Josh, Joe, and Nik came to agreement on not just starting on rain tires but staying out on rains during the 20 mins or so of dry track conditions, which put me in an excellent position to contend for podium when the skies opened up again. I did a good job on tire management, allowing me to advance while others were struggling as their rains wore down while I still had some tread left. It was a great result, and I am looking forward to doing it again come Mid-Ohio and Road America. Thanks again to SMR for a quick car, Josh Stewart for being a great Crew Chief, Marc Miller for standing firm on tire decision, and CUBE 3 for my season sponsorship. Added thanks to Racemaker Press, HMS, and Two International Group for also helping me to fund my dream, and to my friends and family for showing up and lending their support!”
Rhett, who matched his best finish of 5th stated “I’m super pumped after getting my first top five finish at Lime Rock Park. I was disappointed with my qualifying result and knew I had my work cut out for me having to start 18th for the race. I had great start and passed a couple cars in the first corner. The beginning laps of the race the car felt great, and I knew it was going to be a great race. Stevens-Miller Racing absolutely nailed the setup for the race conditions. I’m ready to build off this top five finish with upcoming races at Mid-Ohio and Road America that I have lots of laps driven at both tracks. Lastly, huge shoutout and thank you to my great sponsors Berryman Products, www.barkaucars.com, and MPEC NAPA for their support throughout the season.”
About Stevens-Miller Racing:
Stevens-Miller Racing (SMR) has one of the highest winning percentages in Trans Am’s TA2 category. SMR’s staff has earned 40-plus podiums, three championships, multiple Hard Charger Awards, Rookie of the Year, and more. The team’s focus is achieving the driver’s desired goals. SMR has what drivers need, be it GT2, SVRA Group Six, or TA2. Whether it’s to have fun, develop your driving ability, or win a championship, SMR does it all and has the winning history to back it up. See www.stevensmillerracing.com for more details about our programs and Arrive & Drive and car prep opportunities.