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Road Atlanta: Team Cadillac qualifying notes

Team Cadillac's Max Attack Sweeps Front Row at Road Atlanta Angelelli and Papis Qualify 1-2 for Team Cadillac BRASELTON, Ga., April 16, 2005 - Team Cadillac swept the front row for the first time in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge in qualifying...

Team Cadillac's Max Attack Sweeps Front Row at Road Atlanta
Angelelli and Papis Qualify 1-2 for Team Cadillac

BRASELTON, Ga., April 16, 2005 - Team Cadillac swept the front row for the first time in the SCCA SPEED World Challenge in qualifying for Sunday's SPEED GT race at Road Atlanta. The "Max Attack" saw Max Angelelli and Max Papis qualify their black CTS-Vs 1-2 on the 2.5-mile road course. Andy Pilgrim, carrying 90 pounds of REWARDS weight in Team Cadillac's third CTS-V, qualified seventh.

Angelelli needed just one perfect lap to capture his fourth career pole in World Challenge competition. Returning to the scene of his most recent SPEED GT victory in Team Cadillac's third CTS-V, he set the Road Atlanta qualifying record with a 1:26.605 lap at 105.582 mph that eclipsed the mark he set in his pole-winning run in September 2004.

"I've really missed racing in the World Challenge, so this is a great way to come back with Team Cadillac," Angelelli declared. "Road Atlanta is really good for our cars, which is why there are two Cadillacs on the front row. The setup was right, I know this track very well, and it was a perfect lap."

Angelelli will start the 50-minute race alongside his countryman Max Papis. Papis is doing double-duty this weekend, competing last night in the International Race of Champions at Texas Motor Speedway, where he finished sixth. He qualified on the outside of the front row with a 1:27.093/104.991 mph lap.

"I had to remember to turn right at the first corner at Road Atlanta after only turning left in Texas last night," Papis laughed. "We had a good effort today to be on the front row and I hope that will put us in position to win my first race for Cadillac. The team improved my car for qualifying after I went to Texas, so I think we're in good shape. The CTS-V is excellent under braking and awesome through the esses."

Pilgrim qualified seventh with a qualifying lap at 1:27.637 carrying 90 pounds of "success ballast" after finishing second and fourth in the two preceding races.

"It was a good, smooth run and I was very happy with the lap," said Pilgrim. "Obviously the extra weight I'm carrying here made a difference. We figured it would be worth about half a second. The tires worked well for my first qualifying lap. Then going into the first turn on the second lap I had a big slide, so I came in.

"It's going to be a tough race," Pilgrim predicted. "P7 isn't a great starting position, but we'll see what we can do."

Team Cadillac program manager Dave Spitzer was elated with the team's first front row sweep.

"We knew from the race last year at Road Atlanta that this track suits the Cadillacs really well," Spitzer said. "It's a testament to our team to put two cars on the front row, with Andy just behind based on his REWARDS weight. Max Angelelli put in a exceptional lap, and Max Papis is right there with Angelelli's time after missing the final practice session yesterday when he flew to Texas for the IROC race.

"Just as we knew that the Porsches would be tough on the streets of St. Petersburg, we expected the Cadillacs CTS-Vs to shine here at Road Atlanta."

The third round of the SPEED GT will get the green light at 8:55 a.m. EDT on Sunday, April 17. The race will be televised on the SPEED Channel at 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, April 17

Max Papis' Excellent IROC Adventure

Max Papis finished sixth in the International Race of Champions race at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night. He flew by private jet from an airport near Road Atlanta yesterday afternoon, and then returned to Georgia before midnight.

"It was one of the greatest experiences of my career," Papis declared. "I felt like I was in a documentary - everything was perfectly organized, right on the money. I was really supported by Team Cadillac. Before the race I called the crew, and then after the race they congratulated me.

"It was special going from our CTS-V at Road Atlanta straight into an IROC race car at Texas Motor Speedway," he explained. "My first lap at speed was the green-flag lap. I had a good start, but when Scott Pruett spun I had to dive into the grass to avoid the accident and that broke the front spoiler. I wasn't sure what happened, but the car was very tight and that made it difficult to stay with the guys in front.

"When we all came in for the competition yellow and they changed tires, one of the crew saw that the front valance was on the ground. They taped it up, and the car came to life. I had a good restart right behind Mark Martin. We went up to fourth, I tangled with Helio Castroneves and fell back to eighth, and I drove my way back to sixth.

"On the final laps I was battling side-by-side with Matt Kenseth," Papis noted. "I followed the advice of my NASCAR friends and used the air from my front end to move him up the track and then dove beneath him. I passed him with two laps to go, and that was special to pass a NASCAR champion on an oval!

"The win of Bourdais was a win for all of the open-wheel guys," said Papis, who has experience in Formula 1, Champ Cars and Indy cars. "I now have two sixth-place finishes in IROC, but I hoped to finish higher in my second race. I would like to do a Craftsman Truck or Busch Series test so I can get more acquainted with this type of racing. The next IROC race is in Richmond and that is going to be a driver's track."

-gm racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Matt Kenseth , Helio Castroneves , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Andy Pilgrim , Max Angelelli