Cadillac Racing Second and Fifth at Barber Motorsports Park
O'Connell P2, Pilgrim P5
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., (April 26, 2014) - Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim finished second and fifth respectively in the first of two races at the Pirelli World Challenge Series Barber Grand Prix presented by RECARO.
O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) starting from the fourth row alongside teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) got a great standing start and blew bye the two McLaren competitors who stalled on the grid to find himself running in third position by the entry of Turn One. Pilgrim also was able to get a good start, but saw a waving yellow and hesitated, fell into sequence in eighth place. A first lap caution brought the field together for a restart. As the 50-minute race progressed Pilgrim moved up into sixth place just before the second caution on lap 18. The last caution allowed O'Connell to cool his Pirelli tires for a run at Nick Mancuso's Ferrari running in second. The yellow also gave Pilgrim some cool down time and helped him to move up to fifth place by the time the checkered flag flew.
"The team is really the most responsible for the result today," O'Connell said. "Cadillac Racing puts a lot of effort into the standing starts. I had one yesterday in practice, when I hit the gas the car really hooked up. I think I got an even better one in the race. The McLarens in front of me didn't get going so I had a huge gap around the outside and I got to Turn One and things were looking great as I slotted into third. We opened up a little gap and then our tires started to go off and the Audis started coming. They were chewing on me pretty good. I had to use a lifetime of experience to get through traffic and control things. We got lucky. If there wasn't that full course caution late to cool my tires I would have been done. That allowed me to cool things down and go after Mancuso. It was a fun race for me. When a Cadillac can finish between two Ferraris that is a good day."
Pilgrim had a strong race, but wanted more.
"The car started well, and then I caught a yellow flag waving out of the corner of my eye and I lifted off of the gas and that cost me a few positions," Pilgrim said. "It was really tight out there. The front running cars were evenly matched. You could make up a little here and there, but it was difficult to pass. Traffic gave you the opportunity to pass, which is what is great about the series. I was sliding all over the place, it was the hottest it has been all weekend. Start seventh, finished fifth, satisfied, but could have done better."
Race two for the Pirelli World Challenge Series Barber Grand Prix presented by RECARO will go off on Sunday at 10:40 a.m. CT. Live streaming can be viewed at www.world-challengetv.com. The races from Barber Motorsport Park will be televised on NBC Sports Network, Saturday, May 10 at 4 p.m. ET with a re-air Friday, May 16 at 1 a.m.