Gar Robinson Earns P2 Finish in Dual 2 of the Motor City 100 at Detroit Grand Prix
June 8, 2016
Photo by Stephen Arce, Action Sports Photography, Inc.
New No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro Debuts at Belle Isle
In Dual 2 of the Motor City 100, presented by 3-Dimensional Services Group, at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix on Sunday, Gar Robinson drove the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro to a second place finish in the TA2 Class. Robinson Racing and Pura Vida Tequila Racing debuted their new livery on the Camaro featuring Pura Vida Spirits, Billy F. Gibbons of ZZ Top, Sully Erna of Godsmack, and bevRAGE.
Robinson Racing team kicked off the race weekend with much fanfare, in celebration of its new partnership with the Pura Vida Spirits Company. On Wednesday, the companies hosted friends, fans and family at the Rattlesnake in downtown Detroit, with the Camaro displayed at the restaurant’s entrance and a tequila tasting. The evening then continued with a housewarming party at Gar Robinson’s residence in White Lake, Michigan.
On Thursday, the No. 74 Camaro returned to the Rattlesnake, once again to be on display. This time, more than 150 members of the media attended the Detroit Grand Prix luncheon, hosted by ESPN / ABC announcer Allen Bestwick. Robinson was interviewed by Grand Prix track announcer Larry Henry during the event, along with other television and print journalists.
That evening, Gar and the Robinson Racing team, along with Pura Vida Spirits Company Chairman Stewart Skloss, attended Trans Am’s 50th Anniversary Celebration Dinner at the Edison Institute, hosted by legendary racer Tommy Kendall. Meanwhile, members of the team also attended the Greektown at Sundown event featuring Detroit Grand Prix cars and drivers, street performers and live music. Shane Lewis, driver of the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila / 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro for Robinson Racing, took pictures with race fans and signed autographs. The No. 74 Camaro was parked along Monroe Avenue amid the festivities.
The 24-car Trans Am field took to the streets of Belle Isle on Friday morning for a 25-minute practice session, and later that afternoon, qualifying began at 2:40 pm. Although Robinson qualified the No. 74 Camaro in fourth, the pole sitter did not pass the post-qualifying tech inspection, and Robinson was moved up to the third position for the race on Saturday, Dual 1 of the Motor City 100, presented by 3-Dimensional Services Group.
“The week started out with huge stress,” noted Gar Robinson. “Party planning, press conference, new type of track ... the stress really built. But once I got in the car, the stress went away. The street course was something I could relate to. Belle Isle is kind of a mixture of my two favorite tracks: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Sebring International Raceway. And we have done really well there. Once I figured out it was like that, I thought I could do well and put on a good show.”
In the first lap of Dual 1, Robinson’s Camaro suffered a mechanical malfunction: the emergency shutoff switch failed and the car was unable to get back on track during the 50-minute timed race. The crew quickly repaired the switch just after the car was towed to the paddock. As the Duals in Detroit were invitational races, his points lead in the Championship after Round 3 at Watkins Glen last month was unaffected.
“When the first race came, I was really excited about it. I had a good car and a chance to win it,” said Robinson. “The mechanical failure was a huge disappointment. Luckily, we had a second race to redeem ourselves. We just basically forgot about it and moved on; that’s all we could do.”
On Sunday morning, looming thunderstorms threatened to ruin Dual 2. As the cars lined up for the pre-grid, droplets of rain covered the paddock area. The starting order for Dual 2 was based on the results from Dual 1, so the No. 74 Camaro was relegated to the back of the TA2 pack.
“The second race came around, and there were lots of spectators and fans. It was really cool to see that side of racing at such a professional event,” said Robinson. “We were the underdogs; starting from behind, we had to work our way up to the front. And there was lots of stuff to avoid including a crash in the first lap. But I made some pretty good passes and got up to the leader, Adam Andretti. We had a spectacular race like we always do. It was good for the fans and teams as well to watch. The coolest part of the race was our Formula Drift session in Turn 5! The whole crowd stood up and cheered us on!”
Although he passed Andretti for the lead, Robinson didn’t keep it for long. They traded positions again with four laps to go. Minutes after, the flag came out for a full course caution; Robinson finished the race in second place.
“I wish we could have had a green-white checker to settle it out,” said Robinson. “But the weekend went as wild, and as fun, as I thought it was going to be. A huge congratulations to Adam Andretti on his victory - he has now won at both of my home tracks. If we ever get to Indy, it will be my mission to beat him there!”
Robinson considers the streets of Belle Isle his second home track, as the Robinson Racing shop is located in Milford, Michigan, and the crew members reside in the greater Detroit area. His hometown is San Antonio, Texas, and his primary home track is Circuit of The Americas in Austin.
“Thanks to Chevrolet and the Detroit Grand Prix for putting on such a great event,” said Robinson. “My crew has been working non-stop for three weeks after the Glen to get ready to rock at Detroit. Thanks to the team, my dad, and Pura Vida Tequila. We can’t wait to come back to Detroit next year with Trans Am.”
Next up on the schedule is Round 4 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) in Millville: the Hank Sauce Weekend of Thunder presented by MPT Industries featuring the Trans Am Series. Green flag for the TA2 race drops at 11:30 am ET on Sunday, June 12. In last year's Trans Am race at NJMP, Adam Andretti was victorious, Gar Robinson finished in 2nd, and teammate Shane Lewis took 3rd. Lewis was awarded the CoolShirt Systems Cool Move of the Race, and Robinson Racing received the Pitboxes.com Crew of the Race award.
To see more photos from the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix weekend, visit facebook.com/RobinsonRacingTeam.