Caddell Strong in KONI Challenge Debut at Daytona; Impressive performance before procedural penalty sets Champion back Daytona Beach, FL (23 January 2009) -- 2008 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell showed his championship ...
Caddell Strong in KONI Challenge Debut at Daytona; Impressive performance before procedural penalty sets Champion back
Daytona Beach, FL (23 January 2009) -- 2008 Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Champion Andrew Caddell showed his championship credentials on the big stage Friday as he posted a strong performance in his Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge GS Class debut in the Fresh From Florida 200, co-driving a Ford Mustang FR500C with fellow Mustang Challenge racer Jim Click to a tenth place finish. The race outing came as part of the Ford Racing Champions Prize for the Mustang Challenge Champion as Caddell converted his strong season-long performance in Mustang Challenge competition into the chance to race the Ford Mustang FR500C at the "World Center of Racing."
Click opened the race from behind the wheel after posting his career-best qualifying performance on the track, and raced in top ten contention after making some strong moves up the order early in the race. Putting the championship Hyper Sport strategy into play, Click turned the Mustang over to Caddell during a full course caution. Racing against some of biggest talents in sports car racing, Caddell looked more like a seasoned pro than a novice rookie as he moved the Jim Click Racing Mustang up into the top five in the nearly 70-car field.
But the storybook outing encountered a snag as a full-course caution set the stage for a restart. Looking to make sure he could see the green flag being thrown, Caddell moved out of line for a clear line of sight, but was judged to have jumped the start in doing so. This earned Caddell a black flag stop and go penalty and set the Graham, Washington, youngster back deep in the pack. Frustrated but not discouraged, Caddell moved smartly back up into the top ten to close out the race despite a late-race caution that robbed him of the chance to make any more moves before the checkered flag flew.
"That was a fun race and I really liked the chance to be racing up in the top five with guys like Billy Auberlen, Hugh Plumb, and Joey Hand," said Caddell, who also showed his championship poise out of the car following the race despite the frustration of the penalty. "The car was great to drive and Jim had a really good start so we were definitely on the way to a top five. I had a fun time, and I learned a lot out there racing with these guys. I just hope I get the chance to do this more because I'd love to do more here in KONI. But this was a great thing for me to get a chance to do this, racing the Mustang here at Daytona as the Mustang Challenge Champion. Even though we were hoping for a stronger result, this was a great experience for me and I want to thank Ford Racing for making this possible."