Pilgrim on Podium for Team Cadillac in Salt Lake City SPEED GT Fellows Takes Fourth with "Coolest Move of the Race" SALT LAKE CITY, July 15, 2006 - Team Cadillac posted a strong finish in the inaugural SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at ...
Pilgrim on Podium for Team Cadillac in Salt Lake City SPEED GT
Fellows Takes Fourth with "Coolest Move of the Race"
SALT LAKE CITY, July 15, 2006 - Team Cadillac posted a strong finish in the inaugural SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at Miller Motorsports Park as Andy Pilgrim and Ron Fellows were third and fourth respectively in their Cadillac CTS-Vs. The race was contested in 100-degree temperatures on the sprawling 4.5-mile circuit as both Cadillac drivers kept the heat on their rivals throughout the 14-lap race.
"The car was just about perfect everywhere, but we were sliding like crazy," said Pilgrim after scoring his third podium finish of the season. "I think the wind picked up and covered the track with dust because we had much less grip today than we did in practice and qualifying."
Lou Gigliotti won in a Corvette, followed by Ricardo Imery in a Porsche 911 GT3. Cadillac remains second in the manufacturers championship standings, three points behind Porsche, after six of 10 races. Pilgrim moved from third to second in the drivers championship, 12 points behind Gigliotti.
"I was pushing hard at the finish, and the guys in front of me were slowing down," reported Pilgrim, who finished .841 seconds behind the winner. "I tried to put pressure on Imery and he started to make some mistakes, but I couldn't push him any harder. I would have liked to have got around the Porsche to help Cadillac in the manufacturers championship, but third isn't bad at all in these conditions."
The standing start played a key role in the outcome. Starting fifth and sixth on the grid, Pilgrim and Fellows both timed their starts perfectly. Pilgrim passed Leighton Reese's Corvette on the outside, then moved to the inside for the first turn. Fellows went for the same opening, but had to back off to avoid contact with his teammate, falling to 10th. Fellows then patiently worked his way through the field to fourth at the finish, winning the B&M Oil Coolers "Coolest Move of the Race" award for his inside pass on Mike McCann's Viper on lap 11.
"Actually I think the coolest move of the race was avoiding running into Andy at the start," Fellows laughed. "Andy and I both got awesome starts and we both went for the middle. Whoever was in front of Andy bogged a little bit and when I got out of the throttle to avoid contact with Andy, I lost a lot of positions."
Fellows then put on a driving demonstration as he passed Tommy Archer's Viper on the second lap, James Sofronas' Porsche on lap 6, Bob Woodhouse's Viper on lap 9, and Mike McCann's Viper on the 11th lap.
"I think I might have been the only one passing out there," said Fellows. "My Cadillac CTS-V was good, but we just got too far back too early and with no cautions we couldn't get caught back up. I was able to claw my way back to fourth and we were closing in on the leaders, but we gave up too much at the start."
The two Cadillac race cars were unfazed by the heat at the high-altitude track and had trouble-free runs to the finish as other competitors dropped out.
"We knew this race would be a race of attrition related to engine temperatures and pressures," said Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "We're proud of Andy's podium finish but disappointed to lose ground to Porsche in the manufacturers championship. We're also disappointed that under the current rules our drivers aren't able to get up there and fight for the win.
"It was another terrific World Challenge GT race," Spitzer noted. "This series puts on a hell of a show, and I hope there are people who recognize what we bring to an event."
Today's SPEED GT race at Miller Motorsports Park will be televised tape-delayed on the SPEED Channel on Saturday, July 22, at 4 p.m. EDT. The next event for Team Cadillac is at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on Sunday, August 20. That race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, August 26, at 2 p.m. EDT on SPEED.