PILGRIM TO MAKE HIS NASCAR DEBUT IN NAVY CHEVROLET IN MONTREAL * Road-racing veteran Andy Pilgrim will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut in the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in Saturday's race at Circuit Gilles ...
PILGRIM TO MAKE HIS NASCAR DEBUT IN NAVY CHEVROLET IN MONTREAL
* Road-racing veteran Andy Pilgrim will make his NASCAR Busch Series debut in the No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in Saturday's race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
* Pilgrim, a Nottingham, England, native who became a U.S. citizen in 1998 and now lives in Boca Raton, Fla., has raced professionally since 1984. Since then he has competed at more than 60 different tracks, accumulating more than 50 wins in 10 different series. Pilgrim also has five professional racing championships on his resume.
* Despite his vast road-racing history, Pilgrim has not raced at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve prior to this weekend. Saturday's race will also mark his first time competing in a stock car. Pilgrim spent a day testing at Virginia International Raceway with the Navy team to prepare for the races in Montreal and Watkins Glen.
* Pilgrim's deal with JR Motorsports comes six years after he partnered with team owner, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and co-drivers Dale Earnhardt and Kelly Collins to drive a Chevrolet Corvette for the 2001 Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team finished fourth out of the 79 teams entered in the race. Pilgrim tutored both Earnhardts on how to maneuver the lighter car, and the elder Earnhardt promised him the opportunity to drive a car in NASCAR competition. Earnhardt wasn't able to fulfill his promise, so Earnhardt Jr. is honoring his dad's word with a two-race deal for Pilgrim.
* JR Motorsports is running Chassis No. 011 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. In the car's last on-track performance at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, the team finished 21st.
* In three previous road-course races, the JR Motorsports team has scored one top 10 and has an average finish of 14th. Last August Martin Truex Jr. drove the No. 88 Navy Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish at Watkins Glen International.
Andy Pilgrim, Driver, No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
"After more than 20 years of racing professionally, I'm very excited by the prospect of trying something new with the race in Montreal. I feel like a kid in a candy store. It'll be a great experience to learn a lot.
"I'm excited to learn the ins and outs of driving a different car. It's incredible to have an opportunity like this to compete in the NASCAR ranks. It's one of the most popular forms of racing in the world and I'm honored to be a part of that. I have a big grin on my face just thinking about it. I have to thank everyone at JR Motorsports and the U.S. Navy for this opportunity. I can't wait to do my best for them."
Wes Ward, Crew Chief, No. 88 Navy Accelerate Your Life Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
"Montreal's a new track for us. Looking at photos and diagrams of the place, it has long straightaways and tight corners that will require heavy braking. Brakes are going to be a hot commodity in Montreal.
"Having a driver who has such a thorough understanding of road-course racing will be a big plus for us this weekend. Andy performed really well in our test session at VIR, and I feel confident he'll do a good job for us the next couple weeks. "
Noting the Navy
The Navy is very excited about continuing its association with the most recognized name in NASCAR, JR Motorsports, and further increasing its awareness in 2007. The Navy and NASCAR share common similarities with their focus on teamwork, technology and safety that exemplify the Navy^Òs commitment to grow and develop quality young sailors through service in the Navy.