Late-race problem costs Rebel Rock Racing strong finish in season opener

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Late-race problem costs Rebel Rock Racing strong finish in season opener

\: #2, #3, #4, #5\#12\#13\#14

Cooper takes first laps in Urban Grid Camaro

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (28 Jan. 2022) – Seemingly headed to its best finish in four years racing at Daytona International Speedway, Rebel Rock Racing suffered heartbreak with less than two minutes remaining to finish 20th in Friday’s season-opening BMW M Performance Endurance Challenge.

Robin Liddell and Daytona-round co-driver Michael Cooper ran in contention in the No. 71 Urban Grid Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R throughout the four-hour race, one of two endurance events on the 10-race IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge schedule. Cooper was a late substitute for Frank DePew, who will return to the cockpit in Sebring.

Liddell was second on a restart with 35 minutes remaining, but eventually got shuffled back to sixth. He held that position comfortably until suddenly pulling off with one minute, 20 seconds on the clock. The team’s previous best finish at Daytona was 13th in 2020.

“We didn’t have the pace of some of the other cars, but I thought we ran a heck of a race with what we had,” Liddlle said. “The balance of the car was very good, and we ran in the top three for quite a while. The guys did an awesome job in the pits. We absolutely gave it everything we had. It’s very unfortunate that we didn’t finish with two laps to go. We’re very disappointed considering all the work that’s gone into this week.”

Liddell said the car was experiencing oil pressure issues earlier in the race. They added a quart on a late pit stop under caution.

“We had oil pressure issues during the race, and put some oil in during one of our last stops,” Liddell said. “But in the end, I had oil pressure alarms again. I felt it tighten up at the beginning of the last lap I drove. Obviously, there were only two laps to go, and I had to keep it going. When I came up onto the banking, I heard a tremendous noise and I lost power. From there, I just coasted around. We’re not really sure what was the problem.”

Cooper ran in the top 10 throughout his one-hour, 37-minute stint, turning the Camaro over while in the lead.

“It was a pretty good run, and definitely good strategy,” said Cooper. “We put ourselves in a position for the rest of the race. It was a good first run with the Rebel Rock guys here. A little more power around Daytona would definitely help! Some of the other cars were quite fast on the straight. Overall, the Camaro GT4.R performed pretty well.”

Starting seventh, Cooper was mixing it up in the top five following his initial pit stop. He took over the race lead prior to turning the car over to Liddell. Nine laps earlier, he took a wide sweep through the paved run-off area at the exit of Turn 1 for his closest call of the race.

“[Hailie] Deegan was trying to pass [Dillon] Machavern, and they both got in there way hot, way slowed down,” Cooper explained. “I was on my normal trajectory and had to swerve to avoid them. I just wanted to keep the car clean to hand over to Robin.”

Rebel Rock Racing enters Round 2 as the defending winner at Sebring International Raceway. The two-hour Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 will be on Thursday, March 17, as part of Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring weekend.


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