06.26.2015 – Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O’Connell and Andy Pilgrim finished eighth and 16th respectively in the first of three races to be run at this weekend’s Pirelli World Challenge DeVilbiss Elkhart Lake Grand Prix presented by Cadillac.
In qualifying this morning, O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) posted a time of 2:05.934 that had him start race one from the sixth row. Teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) put in a lap of 2:06.748 for a tenth row starting position.
At the start of the 50-minute timed race, O’Connell had difficulty getting the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R off of the line from the standing start and got pushed back several positions. He was able to correct the situation and came across the line on the first lap in 19th. Teammate Pilgrim was able to get a good start and was two positions in front of O’Connell after lap one. As the race progressed points leaders were falling back as the Cadillac duo continued to move up the race order. At the checkered flag O’Connell was eighth with Pilgrim coming to the line in his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R in 16th. The ATS-V.R had a weight increase and turbo boost reduction since the last race in Detroit.
“We have a sequence that we go through at the start,” O’Connell said. “I hit the button and the gears went dog-to-dog and it wasn’t in gear. Then you start praying and you start hitting buttons pretty fast to get going. I was lucky I did not get hit from behind and was able to gather it up and get in the race. I was able worked my way forward. It was a tough race. A couple of our competitors in the points fell out. This is a great race for us that we didn’t win. We are going up against cars that are 5 mph faster down the straight and finding your way past them is just good race craft. It was poor execution on my part at the start and I won’t do that again.”
Pilgrim was happy to have some of the mechanical gremlins behind him that have plagued the No. 8 Cadillac that last couple of races.
“I was able to get a pretty good start,” Pilgrim said. “It was nice to bring it to the checkered flag after some bad luck the last few races. The Cadillac Racing guys did a good job to fix the gearbox issues we’ve had and the Cadillac ATS-V.R was pretty good today. We are struggling right now. There is no substitute for horsepower and torque. We are losing 10 or 12 car lengths down the straight away here this weekend. You just can’t make that up, no matter good your car handles at this track.”
Race two from Road America will take the standing start tomorrow at 2:35 p.m. ET. The Pirelli World Challenge Series race from Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network Sunday, July 5 at 2 p.m. ET.