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Cadillac ATS-V.R Driver Pilgrim Finishes Seventh at Barber

O'Connell ok following fire

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Cadillac Racing driver Andy Pilgrim finished seventh in the second of two races in the Pirelli World Challenge Series GT race this morning at Barber Motorsport Park. Teammate Johnny O'Connell had a fire erupt in his Cadillac ATS-V.R and was classified 30th.

O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) started today's race from ninth and 12th respectively. The duo were able to improve their positions on the start. By lap three O'Connell was running in sixth with Pilgrim close behind in seventh. On lap 18 O'Connell was headed into Turn Five when his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R caught on fire. O'Connell bailed out and assisted the fire crew in extinguishing the flames. He was evaluated at the Barber Motorsports Park infield medical center and released. Pilgrim went onto race his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R to a seventh place finish.

"It was a good race, much better than yesterday," Pilgrim said. "I am glad that Johnny is alright. It was terrible to see the car on fire, but I am glad he is ok. I had a good race car. I started in 13th and made my way up to seventh. I got together a little bit with Mike Lewis' Porsche going into Turn One, just three wide and nowhere to go. We came together a little bit, but we both continued, just hard racing. It is so close in lap times here you just have to wait for the guy in front to make a mistake. I was behind Ryan Eversley and his Acura, until he made a slight mistake in the last section of turns and I was able to get by him. I just ran out of laps to catch Lewis in front of me."

O'Connell was happy with the car running in sixth before the fire.

"I couldn't have been happier with the way the Cadillac ATS-V.R was driving," O'Connell said. "I was having a great battle with friend and Audi driver Mike Skeen. I was just waiting for the right time to get by him. It was a great battle. I was just being patient. Then I was going into Turn Five and the car just erupted. I didn't want to take Mike with me so I released the brake and went into the gravel and bailed out. You wonder how long it will take to undo the belts and things to get out of the car if something happens, well fire is a pretty good motivator. I then had to go back in and shut off the power and hit the fire extinguisher. The fire team pulled up and I helped them out. Lot of work ahead of the Cadillac Racing guys before we go to Canada, but I am sure they will be on it first thing tomorrow morning and we will be back."

The Pirelli World Challenge Series will travel to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park north of Toronto for a double header weekend to run May 15-17.

The races from Barber will be aired on CBS Sports Network, Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m. ET.