RID­ING HIGH

Ste­van sit­ting pretty as IMSA sea­son en­ters vi­tal stage

Rutherglen Reformer - - The Back Page - Dou­glas Dickie

Ruther­glen race ace Ste­van McAleer is rid­ing high at the top of the stand­ings in the IMSA Con­ti­nen­tal Tire Sports Car Chal­lenge in Amer­ica.

For­mer Stonelaw pupil Ste­van and CJ Wil­son Rac­ing team-mate, Chad McCum­bee, go into this week­end’s vi­tal race at the Road Amer­ica track in Wis­con­sin with a four-point lead in the Street Tuner class.

The duo, who also run their own rac­ing team in the Bat­tery Ten­der Mazda Mx5 Cup Cham­pi­onship, are now well on track to fi­nally lift a ti­tle that has so far eluded Ste­van.

De­spite only fin­ish­ing 18th in their first race of the year at Day­tona, Ste­van and Chad have roared back into con­tention since, thanks mainly to two wins in their last three out­ings.

They fin­ished third in their class at Florida’s Se­bring track in March be­fore post­ing a fifth place fin­ish at La­guna Beach in Cal­i­for­nia.

At Watkins Glen in June, Ste­van and Chad posted their first win of the year and they fol­lowed that up with an eighth place in Canada.

But they were the win­ners once again at Lime Rock at the end of last month to jump to the top of the stand­ings.

With four races to go, Ste­van and Chad have a slen­der ad­van­tage over sec­ond placed An­drew Car­bonell and Liam Dwyer.

Ste­van, who has now lived in the USA for over eight years, reck­ons they are per­fectly placed to go on and take the ti­tle.

Speak­ing to the Re­former from his home in the States, he said: “Road Amer­ica will be a tough track for us but we are well in the fight for the ti­tle and would be dis­ap­pointed if we weren’t still ei­ther lead­ing or fight­ing for it down to the last race of the sea­son.

“Ev­ery year we have been con­fi­dent we could win and last year we ac­tu­ally had a big­ger points lead (at this stage) but couldn’t main­tain it.

“This year we have been bet­ter as a team over­all, so yes, I think we can take this.”

In terms of his own McCum­bee McAleer Rac­ing (MMR), Ste­van, who turns 31 this month, has been de­lighted with their progress.

So far in their de­but sea­son, one of their cars recorded a win while another man­aged to bag a sec­ond place.

Ste­van reck­ons they are well ahead of sched­ule. He said: “We re­ally are hav­ing an amaz­ing year of re­sults, the team ef­forts on both pro­grammes as well as the driv­ing have been tremen­dous.

“This was a year of learn­ing for us but we feel we have ticked ev­ery box we had to achieve.

“The race wins were ac­tu­ally last on the list.

“We were look­ing for pre­sen­ta­tion, oper­a­tions, de­vel­op­ment then podi­ums and race wins.

“We ac­com­plished that half way through the sea­son and are ec­static on this year as a whole.”

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