Cadillac Takes Fifth in Mid-Ohio Melee Pilgrim Comes Through After Multi-Car Accident Eliminates O'Connell's Cadillac LEXINGTON, Ohio, May 20, 2006 - The first 20 laps of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course...
Cadillac Takes Fifth in Mid-Ohio Melee
Pilgrim Comes Through After Multi-Car Accident Eliminates O'Connell's Cadillac
LEXINGTON, Ohio, May 20, 2006 - The first 20 laps of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were fairly routine until a multi-car accident in Turn 13 changed everything. Johnny O'Connell, running sixth in the No. 16 Cadillac CTS-V, was caught in the middle and eliminated from the race. Andy Pilgrim drove through the chaos to move from 10th to fifth at the finish. Lou Gigliotti won the 29-lap race in a Corvette.
"I knew this would be a tough race," said Pilgrim. "There were 10 cars running nose-to-tail, and something had to give. We were fine running in a line, but when we got into traffic, it had to happen. There were cars spinning everywhere, I saw Johnny get hit, and I had to thread the needle."
Cadillac continues to lead the SPEED GT manufacturers championship after four of 10 races with a four-point margin over Dodge. Pilgrim remains third in the race for the drivers championship.
"I managed to come away with a fifth-place finish, and to be honest, that's better than I thought we'd get this weekend," Pilgrim reported. "We lucked out today, but sometimes you've got to be lucky."
O'Connell started fifth on the grid, and ran a steady race in sixth place for the first 20 circuits. Then he was caught up in the accident that took out several frontrunners.
"That was one of those silly racing incidents where a backmarker decided to race the cars at the front," said O'Connell. "He ran into McCann, both of them spun out, and then everybody was spinning. I went left, there was a Porsche there, and then I got nailed from behind.
"I'm disappointed because Team Cadillac gave me a great car and I was just biding my time," said O'Connell. "It's tough because the Cadillacs are saddled with so many handicaps that the competition just drives away from us on every straight."
"We're glad that Johnny's OK, and the crew will be able to fix the car," said Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer. "Andy did a terrific job as always, and the crew did a tremendous job from the minute we arrived. It's frustrating because this team wants to be able to race for a win, and I don't feel we were able to race today."
Today's SPEED GT race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, May 27, at 9 p.m. EDT on the SPEED Channel. The next event for Team Cadillac will be in conjunction with the Dodge Save Mart 350 NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday, June 25. That race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, July 8, at 2 p.m. EDT on SPEED.