Watkins Glen: Banner Racing preview

Banner Racing Pontiacs looking to continue momentum at Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen Eden Prairie Minnesota (June 4 2007): The Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.Rs are heading to Watkins Glen for Round 7 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car...

Banner Racing Pontiacs looking to continue momentum at Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen

Eden Prairie Minnesota (June 4 2007): The Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.Rs are heading to Watkins Glen for Round 7 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve GT Championship on a upswing after their first win of the 2007 season at Lime Rock and are hoping to extend that momentum during the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen.

"It is always a thrill to compete on a race track with the historic significance of Watkins Glen," said Leighton Reese of the race track nestled in the center of the Finger Lakes Region of Upstate New York. "Watkins Glen defines road racing in North America!"

"I have raced there 3 or 4 times before and it is actually one of my favorite tracks, so I can't wait to get there," Tim Lewis Jr. said of the Sahlen's 6-hour race. "I think our Banner Pontiac will work very well there."

The Banner Racing team will field their two Pontiac GXP.R race cars as the Lime Rock winning duo of Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. will be looking to extend their winning ways in the #06 Pontiac while Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards are looking to move to the top step of the podium after their #07 Banner Pontiac fell out of the lead at Lime Rock with a punctured tire.

"We started gaining momentum at Laguna Seca," Reese said. "Both of our Banner Pontiacs had the speed to podium in Monterey but Kelly (Collins) ran out of fuel with two laps left and the #06 GXP.R lost 60 seconds on a penalty after a pit stop. At Lime Rock both cars showed race winning speed."

"The Lime Rock race really gave the whole Banner team a boost," Tim Lewis said. "I think our team morale is a lot higher both for the 06 car and the 07 car because the team has shown that we can win. That should elevate everyone's game for the rest of the season!"

"Life is a lot more enjoyable now that the Banner Pontiac and I are working the way I knew we should," said Reese who credited the movement of the driver's seat as part of the recent improvement for himself and diligence and hard work by the Banner Team for the rest.

For Reese's younger co-driver Tim Lewis Jr. the improvements have come as the result of experience both on and off the track both for himself and the team.

"I am new to this whole deal, the cars, the team and the series and a part of our improvement has been me getting more comfortable with all of that," Lewis said. "With every race our communication has improved. Communication between Leighton and myself, between the drivers and the crew and engineers, everything. We are starting to gel as a team and that will make us perform even better in the future."

Andy Pilgrim will join Banner Racing for Sahlen's 6 Hour

Leighton Reese of Banner Racing announced that Andy Pilgrim, of Del Ray Beach Florida, will join Reese and his co-driver Tim Lewis Jr. in the #06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R for the Rolex Grand-Am GT Series Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen race.

Andy Pilgrim, who is presently leading the World Challenge GT driver's championship in his #8 Cadillac CTS-V, is no stranger to the Banner Pontiacs having co-driven the #07 GXP.R to a second place finish in the 2007 Rolex 24-Hour race with Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards.

Additionally Pilgrim is no stranger to racing Pontiacs at Watkins Glen having finished 3rd in the 2006 Sahlen's 6-Hour race with Collins and Edwards in a Pontiac GTO.R. In the 2007 Sahlen's 6-Hour race Collins and Edwards will run as a two driver team.

"I am really looking forward to it," said Pilgrim. "I love Watkins Glen and especially the long course. It is great to be teamed up with the Banner Racing Team again."

"The Banner Pontiacs are coming into Watkins Glen with a lot of momentum off our win at Lime Rock and Andy Pilgrim is coming off a great win in World Challenge Series in his Cadillac at Charlotte so we hope to extend that momentum this weekend," said Reese of the upcoming Sahlen's 6-Hour race.

"Last year I had to do a lot of driving in the rain last year so hopefully I can do a lot more racing on a dry track," Pilgrim said. "But then again it almost always rains at Watkins Glen."

"It will be great to drive with Andy again and it shows the depth of our team and the GM Racing family to be able to get a driver of Andy's ability and experience into one of our Banner Pontiacs," said Reese who co-drove with Pilgrim at Watkins Glen in a Camaro almost 20 years ago.

Pilgrim will be seeing double duty this weekend at Watkins Glen as he will also drive his Cadillac CTS-V in the SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Series race on Sunday.

The Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen, Round 7 of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve GT Championship, will begin on the historic Watkins Glen International track at 11:00 AM Eastern Time on Saturday June 9th. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED TV and via the Internet at www.Grand-Am.com.

-credit: br

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Andy Pilgrim , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Tim Lewis