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TORONTO, (July 19, 2014) – Cadillac Racing driver Johnny O’Connell finished third in today’s Pirelli World Challenge Series Honda Indy Toronto through the streets of Exhibition Place. Teammate Andy Pilgrim came in sixth.
O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) had a good start that saw him go into Turn One in second, from his third row starting position. Just after Turn One he had to surrender the second place spot to the Viper of Kuno Wittmer who motored by on the next straight. O’Connell had to weather two restarts and pressure late from the Audi of Mike Skeen to keep the last step on the podium earning valuable points. Teammate Pilgrim (Boca Raton, Fla.) was able to make up a position on the start and then inherited two more positions as competitors running in front him were overcome with street racing enthusiasm and had issues.
“Week in and week out there is a lot of things that you can count on, one is that the sun will come up and the other is that we will get a good start,” O’Connell said. “We really focus on the first third of these races and the start is just the beginning of that component. The race pretty much went to plan today. I was able to get a good run on the Viper into one and then on the next straight he just out horse-powered me into the next turn. I had some brushes out there with the wall, and with a few cars, but the CTS.V.R stayed under me. The Cadillac Racing engineers improved the handling of the car and I am glad we have a super strong Cadillac. Position is everything racing on the streets. I had it and was able to keep some good cars behind me. A good points day.”
Pilgrim took what was given and was able to improve three positions and finish a solid sixth.
“Unbelievable out there today,” Pilgrim said. “Johnny moved up a couple of position to get a podium for Cadillac which is great. I was able to move up from ninth to sixth and I am actually happy with that run. I was able to improve on the start and I was getting pushed by Sofronas (James) in his Audi all race. My car wasn’t handling the best, I had some oversteer. I was able to take advantage of some situations from people banging into each other. I saw some ridiculous driving out there today. We are struggling a little right now. Johnny and I had the eighth and ninth fastest laps in the race. We are supposed to be strong on the street courses, eighth and ninth fastest is tough to take.”
The Pirelli World Challenge Series Honda Indy at Toronto will air on the NBC Sports Network, Sunday, August 10 at 1:30 p.m. Race two will tomorrow, Sunday, July 20 at 12:15 p.m.
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