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Mosport: Team Cadillac preview

Pilgrim and Fellows Primed for Mosport SPEED GT Race After NASCAR Adventures Team Cadillac Drivers Tune Up for World Challenge in Stock Cars While the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series has been on hiatus for a month, Team Cadillac drivers...

Pilgrim and Fellows Primed for Mosport SPEED GT Race After NASCAR Adventures

Team Cadillac Drivers Tune Up for World Challenge in Stock Cars

While the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series has been on hiatus for a month, Team Cadillac drivers Andy Pilgrim and Ron Fellows have been honing their racecraft in NASCAR stock car competition. The pair will be joined by reigning SPEED GT champion Lawson Aschenbach when Team Cadillac launches a three-car assault on the Mosport International Raceway winner's circle on Saturday, August 25.

Since the seventh round of the SPEED GT at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on July 22, Pilgrim and Fellows competed in back-to-back NASCAR Busch Series road races in Montreal and Watkins Glen, New York. Fellows also raced in the NASCAR Nextel Cup event in Watkins Glen. Pilgrim finished 15th in his two starts with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s U.S. Navy-sponsored Chevrolet, and was leading the Montreal round on the last lap before being sidelined by a flat tire after contact on the final restart. Fellows finished fourth in the Montreal race in Kevin Harvick's Camping World Chevrolet and fourth in the Nextel Cup race in Watkins Glen in the DLP HDTV Chevrolet, a performance that earned him the Mobil 1 Command Performance Driver of the Race award.

This weekend the two championship-winning drivers will display their formidable road racing skills in race-prepared Cadillac CTS- V sedans on the fast Mosport road course in a 50-minute sprint race on Saturday. They'll also share a Corvette C6.R in the American Le Mans Series Grand Prix of Mosport on Sunday.

"The best part of doing a NASCAR race is that it's so competitive," said Fellows, a resident of nearby Mississauga, Ontario. "The old racecraft gets a good dusting off, and we had plenty of seat time with back-to-back NASCAR weekends. It was great fun. I had a little break last weekend, and now I'm ready to go at Mosport."

Fellows is known to his many fans as the "Mayor of Mosport" because he frequently dominates at his home track. Canada's favorite son won back-to-back World Challenge races with Team Cadillac at Mosport in 2004 and 2005, and he captured the pole in last year's rain-soaked race. He finished as runner-up in the series' Toronto street race on July 8.

"The Cadillac CTS- V is a lot of fun to drive on a swoopy track like Mosport," he observed. "I've only done street circuits so far this year with Team Cadillac, so it will be great to really open it up on Mosport's long, fast corners."

Pilgrim has also kept his racing skills sharp with his NASCAR adventures, but he noted the profound differences between the two production-based racing series.

"There's very little similarity between the cars I drove in the NASCAR Busch Series and the Cadillac CTS- V I'll race at Mosport," Pilgrim explained. "The NASCAR platform is based on suspension and chassis designs that originated in the 1960s. The teams make those cars do amazing things, but there is little similarity between how the Cadillac race cars handle with their modern chassis and suspension systems and how the NASCAR race cars handle. The power curves are completely different, and the high-speed downforce is different as well."

Pilgrim, the 2005 SPEED GT champion, is second in the drivers' standings going into the eighth round of the 10-race series, trailing Porsche driver Randy Pobst by 18 points. Aschenbach, the 2006 champion, is third, 12 markers behind his teammate. Cadillac leads the manufacturers championship by four points over Chevrolet and Porsche.

"We've done well in the past at Mosport, and we hope we can do well there again," said Pilgrim. "But we won't know until we get there how we stack up against the competition, so I'll reserve judgement."

The eighth round of the SPEED GT is scheduled to start at 6:35 p.m. EDT on Saturday, August 25. The race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 2 p.m. EDT on the SPEED Channel.

-credit: tc/gmracing

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Series PWC
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Kevin Harvick , Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Lawson Aschenbach