SEBRING, FL (13 November 2020) – A penalty served early in the race came back to bite
Rebel Rock Racing on the final lap of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season on Saturday,
with the team going from second to 10 th in the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring
Robin Liddell was poised to take the white flag in second place in the No. 71 Urban Grid
Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R started by Frank DePew. However, he was forced to pit for a late
driver change when the team realized that the time served on a penalty by DePew on the fifth
lap did not count towards his drive time, meaning DePew came three seconds shy of meeting
the required 40 minutes.
The setback was a frustrating one, as it technicality erased the chance at a big result, with the
team having executed on plan from start to finish in the season-ending race.
DePew started a career-best ninth, and held that position on the opening lap. On the following
circuit, he was involved in three-wide traffic as he pulled inside the 7 th and 8 th place cars who
were battling each otherheading into the fastest corner on the circuit. While he tried to give his
competitor room, he was assessed a drive-through penalty for accident responsibility.
DePew rejoined the race in 23 rd and he worked his way all the way back to ninth when the race
went to its only caution on lap 12. DePew pitted at the 40-minute mark and turned the car over
“Frank did a fantastic job this weekend in qualifying with his best start to date. Unfortunately he
got a drive-through [penalty] for the contact in Turn 1 which I think was a pretty harsh call,”
Liddell explained. “However, the time you are in pit lane doesn’t count for driver minimum time,
as when you hit the timing loop at pit in, your drive time stops. We either missed that fact or
hadn’t figured exactly where we were on track when he was called into the pits during a yellow
flag and hit the pit entry loop for the driver change, so I believe we were 3.8 seconds under the
time. Even though we drove up to second place, we had to do a pit stop to put Frank back in to
run the final lap. We lost 9 positions in the pits, coming out in 11 th place. Frank ran down and
passed the 10 th place GS car, and we still managed a top 10 finish. Failure to meet the
minimum drive time would have disqualified the car.
Liddell went to the lead on lap 33 and led two laps before his final pit stop with 36 minutes
remaining. Running eighth, Liddell fought back and took second on lap 44. Running 16.336
seconds behind the eventual winner, Liddell cut the deficit to 8.385 seconds before his final
unplanned pit stop.
On his charge through the pack, Liddell recorded the fastest lap of the race, which also set a
new class record.
“It was an unfortunate situation,” Liddell said. “We had a strong car and ultimately had the pace
to win the race. We’ve done a lot of running with the Camaro at Sebring over the last two years
so we know this track very well and the car is very well dialed in there. I wasn’t really surprised
at how fast we ran today but in the end, it wasn’t enough.”
The turn of events cost Rebel Rock Racing what would likely have been a third podium of the
season, with DePew and Liddell finishing first and third in the two rounds at Michelin Raceway
“I’m frustrated by the call and how our race ended up, but I will tell you that I am not at all
frustrated by the way the team prepared for this weekend, and how Robin flat drove the wheels
off the car today,” said DePew. “ Between starting as well as we have all year long, good pit
stops, and our overall team performance, we had a very good weekend going. So to have it all
come undone by a matter of a few seconds is disappointing but there were a lot of big positives
to take away from the weekend. We will come back stronger next time.”
The 2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is scheduled to begin on Friday, Jan. 29, at Daytona