ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – (Mar. 12, 2016) Cadillac Racing drivers Johnny O'Connell and Michael Cooper finished race one of two in third and fourth at the St. Petersburg Grand Prix presented by Cadillac in St. Pete.
O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga) started from the inside of the second row in third position. Teammate Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) took the green from fifth. At the start of the 50-minute race around 1.8-mile, 14 turn modified street course that encompasses the city streets of St. Petersburg and a runway at Albert Whitted Airport in perfect 73-degree weather the pair slotted into third and fourth at the exit of Turn 1. The 20-car field kept the race green the entire distance. When the checkered flew over the Cadillac duo they came to the line in third and fourth. "That was hard work," O'Connell said. "The fact that the race went green the entire distance speaks to the level of driving talent in the series. I think I got everything out of the Pirelli tires today. With about five laps to go I was sliding the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe around pretty good. There are certain circuits that will suit our car and St. Pete is not really one of them. We will look at the data and improve the car for tomorrow. The possibility of rain is in the forecast for Sunday, I think I would welcome that variable."
Cooper was surprised that there were no caution flags.
"I was surprised that the race went green the whole way," Cooper said. "At the start I just slid in behind Johnny. He was very strong in the opening laps. I was focused on taking care of the tires during the race. I was anticipating a caution and a restart so I wanted to make sure I had some car left to take advantage of a redo. I am a little disappointed to start in eighth tomorrow, but a good result today. We will make a few changes to the ATS-V.R Coupe for Sunday."
Based upon their fast laps from race one, O'Connell will start tomorrow's race from third and Cooper from eighth.
The race from St. Petersburg will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on March 20 at 12:00 p.m. ET.
Cadillac Racing, since its inception in 2004, has amassed 26 wins, 91 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Team Cadillac drivers have won the World Challenge Driver's Championship in 2005 with Andy Pilgrim and in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 with Johnny O'Connell.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today, Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.