LIME ROCK, Conn. - Team Cadillac drivers Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim drove their CTS-Vs to first and second-place finishes in the second of two races July 6 in the Pirelli World Challenge Cadillac Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park.
Coming back from second and third-place finishes, Pilgrim second and O'Connell third, in yesterday's Pirelli World Challenge race one at Lime Rock, the duo improved one position each on today's podium to make it a Team Cadillac win for O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and second place for teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.).
Starting from the pole, based upon running the fastest lap in yesterday's race, O'Connell was able to speed off into the lead. Teammate Pilgrim started third, directly behind the No. 3 Cadillac CTS-V of O'Connell, but the Volvo of Randy Post beat him to Turn One, putting the Cadillac drivers one and three for the first nine laps. On lap nine, Pilgrim was hounding Pobst and made the pass into Turn Three. The race witnessed one caution on lap 27, which bunched the field. On the restart, there was the lapped No.12 Nissan of Tim Bell between O'Connell and Pilgrim. Pilgrim made quick work of the Nissan, but his pursuers were caught behind the GTR as the Cadillac duo were able to get some breathing room thanks to lap traffic.
"I got a break on the start. Yesterday's winner Mike Skeen in the Corvette had some problems and had to pit leaving me alone on the front row for the standing start," O'Connell said. "It was too bad. I was kind of looking forward to a good drag race with my CTS-V and that Corvette to Turn One. The half-time yellow brought us all back together. Up to that point I was really easy with my inputs, making sure to keep the car as solid as possible. Boy when the clouds came over for brief periods you could really feel the difference."
"It was a good day and good weekend for points for Team Cadillac," he said. "This has opened up the door for the championship for us. We have put some points pressure on the No. 14 car (Audi of James Sofronas) for the championship and gained some valuable manufacturer points for Cadillac. I am excited about how the weekend went and how the whole team has worked here at Lime Rock."
Pilgrim had a strong weekend with two second-place finishes and a good drive chasing O'Connell today.
"I had a little worry at the start," Pilgrim said. "When we went out on the pace lap before the race, the clutch was soft, maybe some air in the system. So I was really pumping it up all the way to the five-second board with the hope that it would work for the standing start. The team asked if I wanted to come in, but I had to try it, and it worked out. Randy got around me on the start. A few laps later I was right on him into Turn Three, he got caught up by traffic and I was able to get by him."
"The Nissan really helped us on the restart," he continued. "I am sure the guys behind us are upset. With the Nissan holding guys up Johnny and I were able to separate ourselves from the rest of the field a little for the run to the checker."
The Pirelli World Challenge GT Series will have only five days off as the teams head to Toronto, Canada for a single race weekend to run Sunday, July 12.
The races from Lime Rock will be televised on NBC Sports, Saturday, July 20 at 4 pm ET.