It isn’t often that the story is about a team that started 26th overall and won the race. But if you had to guess who did it, you’d probably choose Rebel Rock Racing, Robin Liddell and Frank DePew.

Liddell grabbed the lead late in Friday’s race and made a three-stop strategy work to drive from 26th overall and 23rd in the Grand Sport (GS) class to win the Alan Jay Automotive 120, the second race of the 2024 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season at Sebring International Raceway.

“It was wonderful,” DePew said. “We didn’t expect this. We’ve just had the car for a little while, and we’d been working on the setup, trying to get the car where we knew what the tires would do.”

The qualifying result didn’t necessarily show what the brand-new No. 71 Rebel Rock Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 Evo could do, but a strategic play that limited the team to just three pit stops during the two-hour race helped DePew and Liddell put themselves in position to win.

“When I was driving, the fronts were completely rooted,” DePew said. “We weren’t even sure about fuel, but we’re completely happy.”

Liddell’s fierce final stint let the No. 71 Aston Martin finish 1.817s ahead of another Aston Martin – the No. 19 van der Steur Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 co-driven by Valentin Hasse Clot and Rory van der Steur.

Chad McCumbee and Jenson Altzman finished third in the No. 13 McCumbee McAleer Racing Ford Mustang GT4, 2.766s behind Liddell.

Miller and Taylor return to TCR victory lane in No. 17 Audi

Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor drove the No. 17 Unitronic/JDC-Miller MotorSport Audi RS3 LMS TCR to a convincing victory in Touring Car (TCR) class action Friday at Sebring.

Miller engaged in a spirited battle with Motul Pole Award winner Harry Gottsacker in the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TCR in the first 40 minutes of the two-hour contest. After the various strategies played out over the course of several mid-race cautions, Taylor emerged in the lead.

“It was a smooth weekend from start to finish,” said Taylor. “That’s what we wanted, and the team gave us th at. I’m just happy the car ran well. The crew put in a lot of work after Daytona, and here we are.

“It was a tough race nevertheless,” he added. “It might have looked easy, but we were saving as much fuel as possible while just giving it our all there.”

It was the second consecutive Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR win for the No. 17 duo, who also triumphed in the season opening BMW M Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in late January.

“We feel good, but the competition is really tough, and we know those guys are coming,” Miller said. “We had the best strategy today, which won us the race. But there’s a lot of fast cars so we need to keep working.”

Taking the checkered flag in second place was the No. 80 Victor Gonzalez Racing Team Hyundai shared by Morgan Burkhard and Chase Jones, but the car did not meet minimum ground clearance in post-race technical inspection and was moved to the back of the class.

Andy Lally prevailed in a late-race multi-car scrap in his first race in the No. 12 StarCom Racing Hyundai that he co-drove with Nick Tucker. With the penalty to the No. 80, they moved up to second place with the No. 89 HART Honda Civic FK7 TCR with drivers Chad Gilsinger and Steve Eich taking third.

The IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge resumes May 11 with a two-hour battle at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.