MacNeil and Keen looking for lost podium
TAVARES, Fla. - WeatherTech Racing drivers Cooper MacNeil and Leh Keen are looking for a little river redemption at this weekend's Chevrolet SportsCar Classic Presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers on Detroit's Belle Isle, May 29-30.
The duo of Cooper MacNeil (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Leh Keen (Charleston, SC) were running a strong second in their No. 22 WeatherTech Racing Porsche in last year's Detroit race when some slight contact with the wall tore the driver side mirror from the car. Per series rules, MacNeil had to pit to fit a new door with mirror and that cost the Porsche pair a place on the podium. The tight 2.3-mile, 13-turn circuit located in the middle of the Detroit River has evolved since its first event in 2007. Most recently Roger Penske and his team repaved the surface of the track promising faster lap times and more competitive racing.
"Street races are always a big favorite of mine because of the close walls," MacNeil said. "It really puts a lot of pressure on the drivers to drive as quickly as possible, but not past that last inch, because concrete walls really hurt. The paving of the circuit should make it a bit quicker as it was really bumpy the last time we were on the island. Detroit is a stop and go track and our WeatherTech Porsche has always been pretty good exiting corners, as all the weight is in the rear. I'm really looking forward to getting some good points this weekend and getting back up in the championship even though we are in third just four points out of the lead."
Keen is looking forward to another Detroit street fight.
"Last year was absolutely the wildest racing I have been involved in," Keen said. "It was like destruction derby with half-million dollar race cars. The survivors got to keep going and still have a chance at the win. If you were not completely committed you were not in the fight. I expect this year to be the same. Hopefully the track will be a little bit smoother this year with the repave. Being able to keep the tires on the ground makes it easier to find the set-up and make the car do what you want. It was tough last year with some areas of the track being so bumpy you have to sacrifice speed for just being able to get the car around the corner. The Porsche has always been good at getting the power down in low grip situations. The type of situations a street course throws at you. We always have a comfortable set-up with the WeatherTech Porsche and that is key at a track like Detroit. I am looking forward to the street fight that this Detroit race has become."
Alex Job, team owner, will be ready for a shortened event.
"Detroit will only be 100-minute race," Job said. "Strategy and keeping the car at the front of the GTD pack will be key. We will also have to qualify well so we have options under what I am sure will be more than one caution period. Leh and Cooper have done well on street circuits in the past and we are looking forward to running in the Motor City."
The TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will travel to Detroit for the Chevrolet SportsCar Classic on Belle Isle, May 29-30. Follow the action on Friday with live qualifying from 5:10 p.m. to 6:10 p.m. ET at IMSA.com, The race will be televised live on FOX Sports 2, Saturday, 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. and replayed on FOX Sports 1, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET.