Trio nets 'sensationnel' finishes at Continental Tire race in Quebec

Jan. 1, 2020
Three of P1 Groupe?s pilots emerged triumphant in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Series at the recent Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, Canada.

Three of P1 Groupe’s pilots emerged triumphant in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Series at the recent Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in Quebec, Canada.

Driver Owen Trinkler, coming off a win at the Garden State 250, teamed with P1 owner Randy Smalley to claim the ST Class aboard his RSR Mini Cooper.

Matt Bell and teammate Jeff Bucknum came in third for the duo’s second podium of the season and third Top Five finish.

Mike Sweeney made his return to the series in the ST class at Trois-Rivieres, providing the team with its third Top 10 placement of the season.

Bell had a rough start to the weekend as the rear of his No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro stepped out on him during the first lap, causing significant damage.

The crew came through to give Bell, winner of the 2009 Trois Rivieres round of the series, a car strong enough 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 Bucknum, who crossed the line in third place for the pair’s second podium of the season and third Top Five finish.



“My all-in-one-day race weekend didn’t get off to the start I had wanted, that was sure,” says 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,” he recounts.

“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,” says Bell.

“I placed the car in ninth place – not really what I wanted to reward the crew with for their efforts,” Bell continues. “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 Five. My efforts to the top were pale in comparison to the exciting race Jeff made for himself,” he observes.

Sweeney was making his return to the series and the ST class with a new Compass 360 team after taking the last four rounds off. Sweeney teamed with Gregory Liefooghe in the No. 77 Honda Civic SI, and the tandem produced the sixth-fastest time of the first practice session, ultimately placing sixth in the actual race.

“I love this event, the fans are amazing and the track really rewards a smart, precise and aggressive driver,” says Sweeney. “We ran our race with that in mind. No one was going to beat the Mini or the MX-5s, 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 had shown in New Jersey just weeks earlier, Trinkler drove his way to a second straight win in the ST Class in his RSR Motorsports Mini Cooper S with co-driver 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 has escaped him a season ago.


“It was great to get that win that I thought the team earned a year ago,” he says. “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,” Trinkler continues. “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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