Long Beach: K-PAX/3R Racing race report

K-PAX/3R Racing Volvos C60 Finish 6th and 8th in SPEED GT race at Long Beach Pobst wins first World Challenge pole position for Volvo Pilgrim sets fastest WCGT race lap at Long Beach Long Beach, California (April 19th 2009): Andy Pilgrim...

K-PAX/3R Racing Volvos C60 Finish 6th and 8th in SPEED GT race at Long Beach

Pobst wins first World Challenge pole position for Volvo
Pilgrim sets fastest WCGT race lap at Long Beach

Long Beach, California (April 19th 2009): Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst survived a hot and sultry day in L.A. as they raced their K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60s to 6th and 8th place finishes in the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge ACS Grand Prix of Long Beach Presented by Lala Motorsports, part of the 35th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

"I am happy," said Team Owner Jim Haughey assessing the weekend at Long Beach that was Round 2 of SPEED GT. "I'm happy we won the pole and happy we had both cars finish and finish reasonably well. We made a lot of progress and over-all this weekend was very encouraging."

"The race was very good," said Andy Pilgrim who got as high as 5th on the final lap only to get shuffled back to 6th after getting balked in the hairpin. "We set the fastest race lap and finished the race with both cars. We were able to run the distance while a lot of other teams couldn't.

"This was a brutal race what with record heat and the hot sun in a cloudless sky. You get very little cool air in temperatures like these on a street track like Long Beach so considering how very hot is was here it was all good. I know Randy had some shifting problems but my gearbox worked great for the entire race."

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, qualified the #1 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 on the pole position, his 25th career pole, earlier in the day but started Round 2 of the 2009 SPEED GT Championships in 5th as a result of a coin toss. Pilgrim qualified and started the #8 K-PAX Volvo S60 in 3rd.

"I was very thrilled to win the pole but it felt terrible to win a pole and have to start 5th," said Randy Pobst. "The K-PAX 3R Racing guys are like family and they worked hard and through a lot of adversity for that position and we earned the right to start at the front of the grid. It is tough to get moved back as the result of the flip of a coin."

In the early laps both Pobst and Pilgrim got shuffled back in the running order slightly and as the race began to settle in Pobst's car developed shifting problems.

"I had trouble on just about every lap finding a gear," said Pobst. "I let Andy [Pilgrim] past so I wouldn't hold him up. I had to make an extra shift or two on every lap but the good thing was that I was at the tail end of the lead group and had no one behind me so I didn't have to worry about missing a shift and getting hit from behind."

Pilgrim, of Boca Raton Florida, set the Debaufre Fastest Lap of The Race with a time of 1:26.744 (81.674 MPH) on the 8th lap of the 29 lap race and made a late race charge after running in the 7th position through the middle of the race.

"I made two good passes on the final lap to get up to 5th but I lost in a drag race with Daskalos' Viper to the finish line," said Pilgrim. "I passed the number 97 Porsche going through turn 6 and passed Daskalos going into turn 9. Unfortunately Mike Davis [who was just ahead in 4th] just about parked it going into the final hairpin. I was right on his [Davis] paint and Daskalos was right on my paint so I had no chance to go around him.

"I had my car at full lock [steering fully turned] so I wasn't able to get along side of Davis but he [Daskalos] has more lock and was able to get along the inside of me and we just don't have the power to beat that V-10 Viper in a drag race.

"I would have been alright had Davis kept going at full race speed but I think he knew he had us covered so he slowed to make sure that he was able to drive away from us to the finish line."

Although finishing 8th is never the goal for defending GT Drivers' Champion Randy Pobst, he saw a lot of positives coming out of the Long Beach weekend.

"We made a lot of progress this weekend and I am very pleased with the potential of our Volvo C60s," said Pobst. "Our K-PAX Volvo C60s are quick cars, fun to drive and are finesse cars to drive because we have the smallest engine in the GT field. But, I enjoyed having the all-wheel drive because I could really blast out of the slower corners. With these great 3R guys working on the car I think we will be a major factor all year in World Challenge GT."

"I couldn't be happier with my K-PAX Volvo today because after what we went through at Sebring we have come a long way in a very short period of time," said Pilgrim. "I have been involved many times with the development of new race cars with a lot of factory and high level teams and these K-PAX guys have made big progress in a very short period of time."

Next on the schedule for Randy Pobst, Andy Pilgrim and the K-PAX 3R Racing Volvo S60s will be Round 3 of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championships on May 1st through the 3rd at Thunderbolt Raceway in Millville New Jersey.


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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Mike Davis