Long Beach: Team Cadillac race report
Pilgrim Takes Second for Team Cadillac on the Streets of Long Beach Fellows Sidelined by Electrical Gremlin, Aschenbach Recovers from First-Lap Hit LONG BEACH, Calif., April 15, 2007 - Andy Pilgrim survived rush hour on the mean streets of Long ...
Pilgrim Takes Second for Team Cadillac on the Streets of Long Beach
Fellows Sidelined by Electrical Gremlin, Aschenbach Recovers from First-Lap Hit
LONG BEACH, Calif., April 15, 2007 - Andy Pilgrim survived rush hour on the mean streets of Long Beach to finish as runner-up in his Cadillac CTS-V in the second round of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series. Ron Fellows led the middle third of the 28-lap race at the Grand Prix of Long Beach before he was sidelined by an electrical problem. Lawson Aschenbach finished 12th after he was hit in the first turn and then battled back from rear of the pack.
Corvettes finished first and third in the hands of Eric Curran and Lou Gigliotti respectively. Pilgrim challenged Curran for the win on the final green-flag lap after the race's second full-course caution, but couldn't pull off the pass on the bayside circuit's long straights. His runner-up finished moved him to second in the drivers championship, and Cadillac is second in the manufacturers' standings.
"I ran Eric as hard as I could," Pilgrim reported. "It's disappointing not to win, but second place is a good finish. I didn't have the fastest car today, but I had a great handling car in the tight sections of the track."
Pilgrim had a front-row seat for an extended dice between Fellows' race-leading Cadillac CTS-V and Curran's Corvette. Fellows passed Curran for the lead on the seventh lap, and held the point until the 21st circuit when Curran passed him coming out of the Turn 11 hairpin. Two laps later, a full-course caution began after two Vipers tangled in Turn 1, and Fellows car suddenly lost power due to an apparent electrical problem.
"I didn't realize until the engine stalled under caution what was going on," Fellows explained. "The battery alarm was flashing, and the engine was cutting out coming off the hairpin when I was racing with Curran. I'm not an electronic genius, but it didn't make sense that the engine lost power at low rpm but it would run up high."
Fellows was primed to reprise his victory in last year's SPEED GT race in Long Beach after setting fast times in practice and winning the pole.
"It's disappointing for Cadillac and for the entire team because we came here to win this race," said the Canadian ace. "We were fast in every session, and this is a great place to race. But we'll learn from this experience, and I can't wait for my next race with Team Cadillac."
Aschenbach was caught in a first-turn melee when his Cadillac CTS-V was hit from behind.
"I was punted in Turn 1," reported the reigning SPEED GT champion. "I had a good start, and was trying to go outside of Lou Gigliotti and just hold my position. I turned left and then boom! I got spun around pretty hard, and then watched everyone go by.
"The suspension was knocked out of adjustment, so the car was a bit tough to drive after that," Aschenbach continued. "I was just pushing as hard as I could, running over curbs working the brakes hard. I ended up 12th, and that's a lot better than ending up last."
-credit: gm racing/tc