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Watkins Glen: Team Cadillac qualifying report

Pilgrim Qualifies Cadillac on Pole for Watkins Glen SPEED GT Strong, Late Lap Qualifies Aschenbach Third WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 9, 2007 - Andy Pilgrim seems determined to update Cadillac's storied history from the 50's at the famed Watkins ...

Pilgrim Qualifies Cadillac on Pole for Watkins Glen SPEED GT
Strong, Late Lap Qualifies Aschenbach Third

WATKINS GLEN, NY, June 9, 2007 - Andy Pilgrim seems determined to update Cadillac's storied history from the 50's at the famed Watkins Glen International raceway in a very positive manner. In the last minutes of qualifying today for the fifth round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT, Pilgrim put his Team Cadillac CTS-V race car on the pole for Sunday's race. Lawson Aschenbach's excellent qualifying effort placed his CTS-V race car third on the grid, directly behind his teammate, and further punctuated Pilgrim's Cadillac racing history re-writing at the Glen.

Pilgrim, the 2005 SPEED GT champion has raced at The Glen 25 times in six series since 1986. He has three victories, 11 podium finishes, and four poles - and only twice has he finished outside of the top 10.

"I've raced here at Watkins Glen for over 20 years and I've always enjoyed running here," said Pilgrim. "We had made some significant changes to the car since our limited practice sessions the last couple days and the track was green after last night's rain so I didn't really know what to expect."

While Pilgrim has more than 20 years of experience at Watkins Glen, his teammate, the 23-year-old 2006 SPEED GT champion Aschenbach, will be racing there for the first time.

""We had only put in four practice laps before yesterday's evening practice session and we were really chasing the setup on the car throughout that last 40-minute session," reflected Aschenbach. "Our Team Cadillac guys did a fantastic job getting the car right for qualifying though. The CTS-V was great after adjustments they'd made and I could drive it anywhere I needed to."

After the second lap of the qualifying session, Pilgrim and Aschenbach had placed their Cadillac CTS-V race cars well on the grid with Pilgrim in second at 1:55:236 and Aschenbach sixth with a 1:56:115. Team Cadillac was confident though that the track would only get faster and the quicker lap times were yet to come for everyone.

After a brief time in the pits to allow tires to cool and assess the situation, both Cadillac's re-entered the track shortly before full course yellow flags flew. Neither Pilgrim nor Aschenbach were able to get in a good lap before the flags so back to the pits they drove. After several minutes in the pits, all the cars went back out knowing they'd have one or maybe two laps to get the job done.

"I thought the car would be much better than practice and I knew the track would get faster throughout qualifying," cited Pilgrim. "With the caution period consuming several minutes of the session I knew we'd maybe have a shot at one more fast lap before it was over. I knew I'd have to make that one lap perfect and the car was absolutely awesome. I'm thrilled for Team Cadillac to be able to take the pole in tomorrow's race."

Ultimately, Pilgrim lapped the 3.4-mile natural Watkins Glen International road course in 1:53:998 at an average speed of 107.370 mph and Aschenbach was just over six-tenths of a second behind at 1:54:649 at an average speed of 106.760 mph.

"It was a little frustrating in practice getting so few laps in before last night's longer session," noted Aschenbach. "This is my first time racing at Watkins Glen and I had hoped to get more practice laps in to learn the track better. I'd certainly have liked to qualify closer to Andy, but I'll take a third in qualifying knowing the car will likely be good for the race."

The fifth round of the SPEED GT is scheduled to start at 10:20 a.m. EDT on Sunday, June 10. The race will be televised tape-delayed on Saturday, June 30 at 4 p.m. EDT on the SPEED Channel.

-credit: gm racing/tc

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About this article
Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Lawson Aschenbach