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Dec 31, 1969

Dec 31, 1969

 

Cadillac Racing on the Podium for First Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Race

Cooper and Jordan Taylor third, O'Connell and Ricky Taylor sixth

Cadillac V-Performance Racing drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) finished third in the GT Pro/Pro category in today's first of two Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX races this at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). Teammates Johnny O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.), and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) came to the checker in sixth.

As the cars rolled from pit lane for the start of the 60-minute race, Cooper's No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe stalled just 50 yards from the starters stand. Quick work by the VIR towing crew and the Cadillac Racing team got the car back out on the track without losing a lap. As the green dropped Cooper was just two turns ahead of the overall race leader.

As Cooper was racing to stay on the lead lap, O'Connell was busy moving from his 11th place starting position to sixth by the end of lap one. As the race progressed to the pit window, Cooper pitted and turned the No. 8 Vector Blue Cadillac over to Jordan Taylor. Soon after O'Connell came in and gave the wheel of the No. 3 Velocity Red Cadillac to Ricky Taylor. Unfortunatley Ricky had to return to pit lane for a drive thru penalty as the team missed the mandatory pit time by less than a half-second. The same penalties were also given out to several other top running teams. The races only caution at the 38-minute mark helped the No. 8 Cadillac team catch the field. At the end of the race Jordan Taylor and Cooper finished fifth overall, third in the Pro/Pro class. O'Connell and Ricky Taylor were classified in eighth place overall, sixth in class.

"At the start the car just stopped, the battery just failed," Cooper said. "That is how it goes sometimes. Once the guys got it going I just put my head down and tried to run fast laps and get through traffic clean. I was also saving my tires. I said there were going to be some fireworks in this race and there were. A lot of teams dropped the ball and we were able to get back in the race. To finish fifth overall and third in class is pretty good considering I was in last place about 200 yards in front of the leader around this 3.2-mile track."

"The driver change went pretty well," Jordan Taylor said. "We beat our 30-second minimum. I was able to get all my belts and hoses on in that time. The first couple of laps I was running by myself. We thankfully got a caution. The No. 8 Cadillac was handling good. To come away with a fifth overall finish and third in class is a pretty good day considering we were in last place on the first lap."

"I was able to go from 11th to sixth on the first lap," O'Connell said. "I had a great start. I am very pleased with my stint in the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe. We were in third when I brought it to pit lane. We were just short of the time in the pits. Ricky had to come in and do a drive thru, but so did a lot of the other front running cars. Our bad luck turned around and were able to get a sixth place finish. Ricky is going to have his work cut out for him starting in 12th tomorrow. We raced the car up to third and now we are starting 12th, that is frustrating. The Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe was great. We will try to execute better tomorrow."

"The driver change went well, maybe a little too well," Ricky Taylor said. "Unfortunately we were less than a half of a second off on the count. I had to do a drive thru penalty. We were in a position to do well, but we had a mistake and that probably cost us the race. We go again tomorrow, I will have some work to do at the start to move the car up the field. Anything can happen. I am used to starting the race in IMSA, it will be different here in PWC. I am excited to have the chance to race the car up the field at the start."

Ricky Taylor and O'Connell will start from 12th on the grid (row six) and Cooper and Jordan Taylor will start from fourth (row two).

SprintX Explained:

•Two drivers, 60-minute race, one pit stop

•Pro/Pro drivers may pick who qualifies

•The qualifying driver must start race one

•Qualifying for race two will be set by fastest race lap from race one

•The finishing driver of race one must start race two

Pit Stop:

•Pit window opens at the lap proceeding 25-minutes

•Pro/Pro drivers have a 30-second pit time, Pro/Am drivers have a minimum pit time of 60-seconds

•There will be no tire changes at VIR

•Driver pairings will be awarded points equally based upon finishing position

The Pirelli World Challenge Series SprintX race two from Virginia International Raceway will go off today at 1:15 p.m. tomorrow. The race can be viewed via live stream at MotorTrendonDemand.com. The broadcast of the race weekend will be aired on the CBS Sports Network, May 7 at 6 p.m.

Article by Kyle Chura