Clemons Racing, plus 30 other drivers, come together at the Circuit of the Americas for the second weekend of the Toyota GR Cup. The series still has the "new car smell," Steven Clemons and the team came with just as much excitement and race one but with more energy and experience with the competitors. COTA is big... Everything is bigger in Texas.
Clemons found himself kicking it up this weekend by hanging out in the front of the pack and starting in P9, the pink 86 sets off side by side with the competition in a 45-minute race. Steven races hard, taking risks and moving around the drivers while battling Gonzalez and Pombo. With 31 minutes remaining in the race, Steven makes contact with McCarthy causing the hood to pop straight up. "I can see, I can see," said Clemons.
Clemons with his pink 86 became a hot topic in the paddock. If the color wasn't enough to stand out, Steven stayed out on track with his hood stuck up single file as he waited for the pit lane to open soaking up the attention.
"I got hit, an impact hard enough to break the hood latches and causes the hood to fly up. Although I decided to stay out and do one more lap of FYC to avoid a penalty, after that I went into the pits and my team got the hood down. Back out on track seen as “a never quit attitude” by the announcers I was putting in times of the top 10 with damage."
Race 2 started differently, with light rain coming from the gray skies. The Continental tires used in the GR Cup are highly rated, but it comes down to the driver to react appropriately. Starting top ten, Steven enters the field, ready for a comeback. The track conditions made things interesting as everyone racing went sliding, including Steven, with his 86 falling to the back of the pack early in the race.
Clemons did not fall back and stay back. Steven could hold it down and battled back to the top ten. Great comeback with everything thrown in his direction.
"It’s declared a slick tire race, with the mild weather I knew slicks would be tricky. In the mindset to show what I can do, after T1 I’m already in the fight for P5. Trying to hold onto it I took more paint through the esses than I should’ve, I spun myself out. Nobody to blame but everybody to pass. I’m now in P28 with 45 minutes left, I started going 100%. I get caught up and just start picking them off and in the process I had fastest lap for the first half. From going to P28, to P20, and then to P15 I knew I wasn’t done. Passing anywhere from 1-4 cars in a single lap every lap I was able to finish in P9; it was a fight but a fight I never gave up on."
"Steven Clemons is definitely a driver down in 27th to watch out for; obviously with the hood issue he had to deal with, he gets his way around." -DJ Clark
Regardless of Race 1 results, the weekend will be looked at as a success for being a highlight of excitement and experience with racing in slick conditions.
Quaifiying 1: P9
Best Lap: 1:55.565
Race 1: P27
Best Lap: 1:56.432
Quaifiying 2: P10
Best Lap: 1:54.931
Race 2: P9
Best Lap: 1:56.510
Watch Race 1 on YouTube
Watch Race 2 on YouTube
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Written by Tyler Mard
Photography by MotorSportMedia
Published by Daytona Media