Down but not out, Rebel Rock battles back to 10th at VIR

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Down but not out, Rebel Rock battles back to 10th at VIR

SRO VIR 2022

DANVILLE, VA (29 August 2022) – Rebel Rock Racing rallied from challenging circumstances to finish 10TH with a late-race charge in Saturday’s Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway, the penultimate round of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

Frank DePew and Robin Liddell co-drove the No. 71 Urban Grid Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Coming back from an incident in practice – and further handicapped by an oil leak in the final hour – the team was 19th with less than 20 minutes remaining. A late caution set up a two-lap sprint, with Liddell charging to 10th, only 7.652-seconds behind the winner.

“To be honest, I think the pace of the car and the finishing result was amazing considering what we went through yesterday and last night and today to get the car ready,” Liddell said. “It was a tremendous job by the guys and pace of the car was phenomenal.”

The weekend got off to an ominous start early in practice when DePew suddenly hit fluid dropped by another car. DePew encountered massive understeer, and had hard contact with the wall. While the team missed the remainder of practice and qualifying, an engineer for Pratt & Miller who had worked with Rebel Rock in the past flew from Detroit with needed parts to complete repairs.

Starting 21st, DePew ran a smooth and steady shift. He was not passed during his 40 minutes behind the wheel, and was running 15th when he stopped to turn the Camaro over to Liddell.

“My stint went really well,” DePew said. “The guys just killed it putting the car back together. I felt a reasonable amount of confidence in the first two pace laps, but then as soon as I got into it on the start, I knew, that the car was good. And so that ended up giving me the confidence to go ahead and push the car and try to move forward.

“At the end, Robin got us 10th, which is an amazing result,” DePew added. “Given what we went through this week, we’re happy. a It takes cooler heads to drive the car in a measured and safe way. After the adversity, I think we did as well as we could have hoped.”

Liddell rejoined the race in 19th, The race went yellow three laps after his stop, with Liddell moving up to 14th when the leaders pitted under caution. Near disaster struck at the restart, though. Liddell had bodywork damage while fighting for position in a tight pack.

Only six laps later, Liddell was forced to pit under green with an oil leak – taking two tires and fuel in addition to adding oil. When he returned to the track, Liddell was a distant 19th, but 26th overall due to TCR traffic. A caution with nine minutes remaining gave him another chance, and he took advantage of the opportunity with a top-10 finish.

“We did have some issues,” Liddell said. “Obviously, we had the bumper coming off; we lost time in the pitstop to get the bumper reattached, but then the bumper  flew off anyway. And then basically we had an oil issue and I suspect that the cache tank was just full and started bleeding too much oil, so we had to put oil in. Then again, we lost further time in the second pitstop. But incredibly, we got back on the lead lap and we got to 10th. So just a phenomenal effort by everybody really so very, very happy. I would say a great and measured drive by Frank in the opening stint.”

The 2022 Michelin Pilot Challenge will conclude with the Fox Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Friday, Sept. 30, at 1:10 p.m. ET.