Utah: Banner Racing preview

Pilgrim & O'Connell join Banner Pontiacs for Rolex Grand-Am GT finale in Utah Eden Prairie Minnesota (September 10, 2007): Banner Racing team will be looking to close out the 2007 Rolex Grand-Am GT season with another win in the Banner...

Pilgrim & O'Connell join Banner Pontiacs for Rolex Grand-Am GT finale in Utah

Eden Prairie Minnesota (September 10, 2007): Banner Racing team will be looking to close out the 2007 Rolex Grand-Am GT season with another win in the Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.Rs at the Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.

The Banner Racing team announced that Andy Pilgrim, of Del Ray Beach Florida, will be joining Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards in the #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R while Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch Georgia, will reprise his run in the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona with Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. in the #06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R.

"I'm looking forward to driving the Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R again with Paul and Kelly," said Pilgrim. "I know these guys (Collins and Edwards) need a win to have any chance at the Championship so that's what we have to do if we can."

Pilgrim, who owns three class wins and an over all win in the Rolex 24 hour, is wrapping up a very busy summer having raced four different GM cars in four different racing series in recent months. Pilgrim who is presently 2nd in points in the World Challenge GT Series in a Cadillac CTS-V drove a Corvette C6.R with Ron Fellows in the ALMS race at Mosport and the #88 Chevy Monte Carlo for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated in the NASCAR Busch events at Montreal and Watkins Glen in August.

"I was leading the Montreal race with one to go when I got caught up in the Gordon/Ambrose incident and ended up 15th caused by a flat tire," said Pilgrim. "Also, running the C6-R at Mosport last week was eye opening, the car is fantastic and I ended up going 10 seconds a lap faster than the World Challenge Cadillac there which was a blast.

"I love Miller Park, and I really enjoyed racing there last year. It's long, it's technical, and I just like the whole idea of it. I think the Pontiac GXP will be great there!"

Johnny O'Connell, who is usually found sharing the #3 GT1 ALMS Chevy Corvette C6.R with Jan Magnussen, comes to Utah on a hot roll having won 2 straight GT1 races at Mosport and Detroit on back to back weekends.

Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards go into the series finale at Miller 4th in points for the Drivers' Championship with 330 each only 15 points behind the leader Dirk Werner who has 345.

Making up 15 points in one race will be difficult as they will have to best the Werner/Miller Porsche by at least 12 positions and top the Lally/Valentine Porsche by at least 10 to win the Driver's Championship in the GT class.

But anything can and usually will happen in a 1000 kilometer race so Kelly, Paul and their new team mate Andy Pilgrim will be doing all they can do by going all out to get their #07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R into the winner's circle in Utah this weekend.

Meanwhile Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. who are 7th in points with 301 and mathematically eliminated from winning the championship will be looking to move up in the standings with another strong finish at Miller. With the help of talented Johnny O'Connell on the roster for the #06 Banner Pontiac Leighton and Tim will be doing all they can to put both GXP.Rs onto the podium.

After spending the first few races of the 2007 season sorting out their brand new Pontiac GXP cars the Banner Racing team has spent the remainder of the season playing catch up to Porsche who has clinched the 2007 GT Class Manufacturers' Title so the Banner team will be going all out to end the 2007 season on a high note by putting one of the Banner Racing Pontiacs into the winner's circle.

The Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.Rs will commence the final Rolex Grand-Am race of the 2007 season when practice begins on Thursday September 13th at 10 am. With GT Qualifying for the race scheduled for 1:45 PM Mountain Time.

The Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele Utah is set to begin on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11:00 AM Mountain Time. The start of the race will air live on SPEED TV at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time with the action picked back up by SPEED and continuing to the checkered flag beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

-credit: br

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Ron Fellows , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Tim Lewis , Dirk Werner
Teams Dale Earnhardt Incorporated