Mid-Ohio: K-PAX/3R Racing race report

Pobst takes K-PAX Volvo S60 from last to 4th in SPEED GT Round 7 at Mid-Ohio Pilgrim's championship hopes crumble as another transmission failure ends his day Lexington Ohio (August 9, 2009): The K-PAX Volvos of Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst...

Pobst takes K-PAX Volvo S60 from last to 4th in SPEED GT Round 7 at Mid-Ohio

Pilgrim's championship hopes crumble as another transmission failure ends his day

Lexington Ohio (August 9, 2009): The K-PAX Volvos of Andy Pilgrim and Randy Pobst started Round Seven of SCCA Pro Racing's SPEED World Challenge GT Championships at opposite ends of the grid in Sunday's Mid-Ohio Grand Prix Presented by Dish Network and again transmission issues sent the two drivers in opposite directions today.

Pobst, who missed qualifying and much of the practice due to a broken gearbox, started his #1 K-PAX Volvo S60 last and blasted his way to a 4th place finish while Pilgrim saw his championship hopes shattered as the transmission in his #8 K-PAX Volvo S60 came to an ignominious end on lap 17 while Andy was pacing the race leader in 2nd position.

"It not only cost us a shot at a win but it definitely cost us a shot at the championship," said Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton Florida, of the terminal transmission failure than brought his race and championship hopes to a slow end. "I maintained position at the start and definitely had second covered. I pacing myself and marking Brandon Davis [race leader and eventual race winner] in the first half of the race. My car was perfect today and I think I could have worn him down and had a serious go at Brandon but we will never know now.

"I have had the luck going my way all season thus far so I suppose it was my turn. But everyone should know that once again it was the same transmission problems we have had all year and has nothing to do with 3R Racing because they gave me an immaculately prepared car today. They had me, or I should say us, in a position to have a strong chance to win the race at the end but once again the gearbox let the team down."

"The car was fine but I started feeling a vibration in the left front and 8 corners later I lost the whole drive and that was it," said Pilgrim. "This is just a crushing blow for me but I really feel badly for the 3R Racing guys because they have poured their heart and soul into these cars."

While Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, had a much better day on Sunday, transmission also left the twice defending WCGT champion wondering what might have been.

"I got lucky today," said Randy Pobst who brought his #1 K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60 from last to a strong 4th place finish winning the Sunoco Hard Charger Award in the process. "Mostly I feel lucky to have a team like 3R Racing behind me because Will Moody and the guys gave me a great car today despite having almost no laps on the car this weekend.

"It is amazing that we moved all the way up to 4th without a caution. We might have won had if we had a mid-race yellow! That was how good my K-PAX Volvo was today. Had we gotten in any qualifying laps I think we would have won today or at least finished on the podium for sure!"

Pobst was up to 10th early on but had to contend with the Vipers of Jeff Courtney, Charlie Putman and Ritch Marziale for several laps as the powerful V-10 Vipers kept leaving Pobst down the straights.

"Jim [K-PAX team owner Jim Haughey] gave me great advice telling me to be patient," said Pobst. "I needed it because those Vipers were so much faster down the straights. It made passing a real strategy game. I really enjoyed it. Jeff Courtney didn't make it easy for me, nor should he."

"I put a surprise pass going into turn 11 because my car was much more stable going into turns," said Pobst of the pass for 6th that won Randy the Autoweek Move of The Race. "I saw a hole and I just stuck in it in there!"

"No, there was nothing wrong with the brakes, I always do that to make sure I have a brake pedal at the end of this straight," said Pobst of the mid-race brake pumping he was reported to be doing. "They were a little hot with all the heavy braking I was doing to get past those Vipers but my car was perfect today."

Pilgrim's demise moved Randy up to 5th and he set the second fastest race lap of 1:27.997 (just a hundredth or so off the fastest race lap of Rivera) as Pobst erased an 8 second gap behind Crescentini's Porsche. Pobst took the 4th position with a turn 13 pass on lap 22 but with an over 12 second gap to 3rd the place Porsche of Sofronas Randy backed off as thoughts of team mate Pilgrim's problem fresh in his head.

"Sure I thought about it and after I got past Crescentini for 4th I ran my car easier and started minimizing shifts," admitted Pobst. "We have another race in a week and it will probably be on this transmission so I was taking it easy."

Andy Pilgrim's disappointing 15th place finish dropped Andy to 4th in the Drivers' Championships with 598 points to 725 for championship leader Davis. Pobst's 4th place finish kept Randy in 5th place in the championship with 568 points.

Pobst's 4th place finish kept Volvo solidly in 3rd place in the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by Racer Magazine with 30 points. Porsche leads with 45 and Ford is second with 41.

Next up for the K-PAX/3R Racing Volvo S60s of Randy Pobst and Andy Pilgrim will be Round Eight of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Championships: the Road America Grand Prix Presented by StopTech Brakes at Road America in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin on August 16th 2009 at 9:35 AM Central Time.

-credit: kpax/3rr

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Brandon Davis , Jeff Courtney , Charlie Putman , Ritch Marziale