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Laguna Seca: Team Cadillac race report

Angelelli Puts Cadillac on Podium in SPEED GT Season Finale Pilgrim Takes Third in Drivers Championship MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 22, 2006 - All three of the Team Cadillac CTS- V race cars survived the season finale of the SCCA SPEED World...

Angelelli Puts Cadillac on Podium in SPEED GT Season Finale
Pilgrim Takes Third in Drivers Championship

MONTEREY, Calif., Oct. 22, 2006 - All three of the Team Cadillac CTS- V race cars survived the season finale of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but they bore the wounds of battle at the conclusion of the wild 27-lap race.

Hit from behind on the first lap, Max Angelelli drove his No. 12 Cadillac CTS- V through the pack after a costly pit stop to finish third. Andy Pilgrim showed true grit as he shrugged off a third-lap spin in the Corkscrew, finishing eighth on the track and third in the drivers championship. Johnny O'Connell was nailed from behind on a restart, then put the hammer down to take the 12th finishing position.

Randy Pobst won the race in a Porsche 911 Cup and captured the manufacturers championship for the German marque. Cadillac finished third, two points behind Porsche and one point behind Dodge.

"I'm very happy to finish on the podium for Cadillac," said Angelelli. "My CTS- V was outstanding as usual. I got hit in the first corner on the first lap and that basically cut my race off, but I never gave up."

The Team Cadillac crew performed triage on Angelelli's wounded Cadillac after it was speared by a Viper in Turn 2. The left-rear tire was replaced and the damaged fender bandaged with tape; the mangled sheetmetal was subsequently removed in a second pit stop. Angelelli then worked his way back to the front with surgical precision. He was 14th on Lap 10, 10th on Lap 13, and sixth on lap 16. He passed James Sofronas' Porsche to move into the top five on lap 19, picked off Tommy Archer's Viper to take fourth two laps later, and then passed Leighton Reese's Corvette on the 24th circuit to secure a place on the podium.

Pilgrim's run for a second drivers title ended at the top of the famous Corkscrew turn. He dropped to 26th after a spin in the dust and dirt at the edge of the track, then battled back to finish eighth.

"It was just an unfortunate turn of events because I had a really good car," Pilgrim explained. "Bob Woodhouse hit Johnny on the restart, and his car was pouring smoke out of the right side. I knew he was damaged, and I was going inside to pass as we went into the Corkscrew. For whatever reason, his car turned left under braking, and as soon as my tires hit the gravel, the car spun. I really got pushed into that one."

O'Connell's Cadillac was the pinball in the third-lap restart, also sustaining damage to the left-rear fender. The impact knocked his window net loose. After a pit stop to reattach the errant net, O'Connell charged to 12th at the checkered flag.

"I had an awesome race car, a car that I thought was capable of winning," O'Connell declared. "Actually a lot of our problems were the result of getting slammed on the straightaway. On the same lap we had some kind of glitch, and it fixed itself as soon as I got into pit lane. The World Challenge series is definitely a challenge, and there are a lot of tough competitors out there."

"Max did a terrific job, as did the entire team," observed Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "Last year we had a lot of luck that converged for us to win two championships; this year we had more than our share of bad luck that converged to put the championships out of reach. Yesterday I heard a great quote from Roger Penske: 'In order to be successful in racing, you need great cars, great drivers and a little luck.' We had two out of the three today."

-credit: gm racing

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Series PWC
Drivers Johnny O'Connell , Tommy Archer , Randy Pobst , Leighton Reese , Max Angelelli , James Sofronas , Bob Woodhouse , Roger Penske