Rebel Rock Racing drivers Robin Liddell and Frank DePew shared the driving duties in the No. 71 Urban Grid Solar/MVP Capital Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R as the two hour race opened under tricky conditions following a weekend of rain and cold temperatures at the rural-area Ohio circuit.
Early in the race, DePew saw his run change dramatically following a quick spin while battling with another car after racing through one of the wet sections of the track that saw him mired in a gravel trap.
“I hit a wet spot coming out of the Keyhole, then it snapped right, going off into the muddiest place on the planet,” said DePew.
The process to return to the track took a number of laps, but DePew had a solid run after the early off before turning the car over to Liddell. The duo was credited with a 21st place finish in the lead Grand Sport class.
Earlier Saturday, DePew had braved rainy conditions to qualify 19th.
Once back underway, DePew worked his way up to speed.
“After running 2 laps off line to try to shake the mud off the car and the tires, the call was made for me to pit early and get new tires and clean up the mud still adhered to the bottom of the car,” DePew said. “After returning to the track, the car felt really good, but we were a number of laps down at that point, so I just drove it and continued to learn the track. I’ve never raced here before, and I only had half an hour in the car before the race, so I’m reasonably happy ultimately with my driving, but I’m upset because I put us laps down due to the off. My stint continued to become more enjoyable as I got more comfortable with the track.”
Liddell ran with the leaders late in the race, but was still several laps in arrears.
“After the last restart, I just wanted to stay out of trouble with the leaders around me and not get involved in their race,” Liddell said. “I’m disappointed with the result. I thought we had a very good car, but you can’t overlook the steep learning curve Frank’s been on. He’s never been to this track before, and he’s never driven this car in the wet before today. The track conditions were very difficult, and we’ve got a very experienced group of quick guys out there. It’s no mean feat to come into this series and be in a position to hold your own. Frank has been progressing very well, but sadly we’ve yet to have a result that reflects that effort both he and the team have been making. Now, we’ll dust ourselves off and get ready for Watkins Glen.”
The next race for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge will be the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240, a four-hour event at Watkins Glen International on Saturday, June 29.