WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Robin Liddell, driver of the No. 6 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, held off the charging Nissan of B.J. Zacharias on the final lap of Saturday’s Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen Int’l, and held on to win his second Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory of the season.
Andrew Davis started the No. 6 machine and led throughout the opening 45 minutes before turning the car over to Liddell. The Scot passed the pole-sitting No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro Z/28.R of Lawson Aschenbach with 45 minutes remaining, and from there it was a matter of conserving enough fuel to make it to the checkered flag.
Liddell had his lead cut from five to 2.387 seconds over the closing three laps. Misunderstanding instructions from his crew, he was concerned about keeping a yellow car behind him. Three corners from the finish, he saw Zacharias quickly gaining ground in the white No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z, and the race was on.
“I don’t know all the car numbers yet,” said Liddell, running his first full season in the series. “I knew the No. 14 car was coming, but I was thinking it was a yellow Porsche. I saw a yellow Boxster behind me when I started my final lap, so I thought I was OK. Suddenly I saw the Nissan coming like crazy when I was coming out of the Boot (Turn 8) – while I was in the midst of a four-car ST battle. Then my car coughed – we were running low on fuel. I just managed to hold on, but it was super close.”
Liddell took the checkered flag .169 seconds ahead of Zacharias, with the second-place finish a career best for both the Cincinnati driver and co-driver Brad Jaeger. The winning Camaro led three times for a total of 45 of the 62 laps in the two-hour, 30-minute race.
“I came up about five feet short,” Zacharias said. “I’ve got to hand it to (team owner) Kevin Doran. It all came down to strategy. We took on only left-side tires and loaded it with fuel on our final stop to give us some distance. Over the last few laps, (lapped) cars were pointing me – and that doesn’t often happen in this series. It was pretty wild in the last few corners. Robin drove clean. I tried to go to the inside coming to the flag. He gave me racing room, but I got my tires up on the curb, got it sideways, and it just came up short.”