O'Connell and Cadillac Sweep Pirelli World Challenge GT at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park
O'Connell takes second win from pole
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada - Cadillac Racing driver Johnny O'Connell swept the Pirelli World Challenge Series weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park with a second win this afternoon. Teammate Andy Pilgrim was classified in 26th.
Johnny O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) took the second win of the weekend from pole position in his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R. O'Connell was able to get a good start from a standing position to lead the race with a battle ensuing behind him. Prior to the first and only race caution on lap five the Ferrari of Olivier Beretta and the McLaren of Kevin Estre had some contact. That allowed O'Connell to get a slight gap, but the Bentley of Butch Leitzinger was coming fast. O'Connell was able to hold off the hard charging Bentley for win number two.
"I had a pretty good start. Good enough to get the lead," O'Connell said. "Then I wanted to really push to see if I could get a gap to second place. They started really racing back there and I think they had some contact. I was hoping for some shenanigans that would allow me to get a little lead and that is what happened. I had a small gap, but that big bad Bentley was coming. Those guys are fast. Butch was coming and I just had to study his car versus mine and maximize my strong track points and it worked. I am proud of this team. We have two wins. Great weekend!"
Teammate Andy Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) continued his streak of bad luck. Contact and engine issues sidelined him after 18-laps.
"I got hit at the start when I came together with Bill Zeigler's BMW," Pilgrim said. "It turned me sideways and I almost crashed. Coming down the back straight the hood came up. We don't know why and I had to pit and that put me down a lap. On the restart I am a lap down but still passing cars. I wanted to be careful because you are in the middle of other people's race and you want to be respectful. A few laps later I got an engine light and the engine started to lose power. I smelled a hint of smoke, I pulled off and pulled the extinguisher."
The Pirelli World Challenge Series will travel to Detroit for a double race weekend May 29-31. This weekend's races will be televised on CBS Sports Network Sunday, May 24 at 5 p.m. ET.