BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2000) -- After almost nine hours of racing at the Petit Le Mans, the Goodyear-shod GM Goodwrench Service Plus Corvette C5-R of Andy Pilgrim, Frank Freon and Kelly Collins found itself 12 seconds behind the leading...
BRASELTON, Ga. (Sept. 30, 2000) -- After almost nine hours of racing at the Petit Le Mans, the Goodyear-shod GM Goodwrench Service Plus Corvette C5-R of Andy Pilgrim, Frank Freon and Kelly Collins found itself 12 seconds behind the leading Oreca Dodge Viper on the final restart. Pilgrim closed the gap to within a second in just eight laps, then passed the Viper for the lead on lap 390 of 391. He went on to post a 6.837-second victory in the Corvette. The second entry for Ron Fellows, Chris Kneifel and Justin Bell finished third, one lap down, after dropping a cylinder.
ANDY PILGRIM , DRIVER, #4 CORVETTE: "This is just a huge victory for Chevrolet and Goodyear. One of the biggest thrills is this means the Corvette is qualified for Le Mans next year. But the credit needs to go to Doug Fehan and his entire crew. After the #3 car won at Texas and now we win at Road Atlanta, you can't do better. The Corvette ran flawlessly; I mean I punished the car. I couldn't have wrung any more out of it. The Goodyear tires ran flawlessly and they were obviously a big part of the run at the end of the race. Even with the troubles we had today, we never gave up. We kept going and we never gave up."
FRANK FREON , DRIVER, #4 CORVETTE: "I've never been involved in a victory like this. We had a good race and we -- Andy and Kelly and I -- were on the podium this year at Le Mans, but today is a win. Now we are on the top step. It's sweet. It was like a sprint tonight. It's just amazing that after nine hours, the top cars are just fives seconds apart. It's good to be on the right side of the five seconds.
KELLY COLLINS , DRIVER, #4 CORVETTE: "There's a special chemistry that's building and developing between this Corvette team and the drivers. There's a lot of heart and soul over here and we drove our butts off all night, even when we lost those two laps. We also had a wheel problem (a cross-threaded wheel nut forced a second pitstop), but we kept going. The Goodyear tires were better than they've ever been. We lucked out with a bit of cloud cover and during the cool temperatures at night they were much better than the competition."
RON FELLOWS , DRIVER, #3 CORVETTE: "We lost a cylinder. We were closing in on second place when the cylinder went away and that was our race. But it's a good day for all of us inside the team. It shows that Texas was no fluke and that's pretty neat. It's a good day. The Goodyear tires were there for us today, and with the current testing program, we'll be able to make more gains. There's always room for improvement, but today shows everyone has made huge progress. As I said, Texas was no fluke and after Mosport, this is three races in a row where we've been in a position to win and we've won two of them. This is great for Corvette and for Goodyear."
JOHN TAUBE , GOODYEAR LEAD ENGINEER, CORVETTE PROGRAM: "That was a tough race, but a good race. The tire wear on the Goodyear Eagles was a little more than we expected, but it didn't hurt the performance. The car balance changed throughout the race, so the tire performance changed as a result. We've worked hard on developing a tire that is as good at the end of a cycle as at the beginning; I think Andy Pilgrim proved that we had that tire tonight. This is two in a row for Goodyear and the Corvette, next comes Laguna Seca."