ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Cadillac Racing drivers Michael Cooper and Johnny O’Connell finished race two in third and fifth at the Pirelli World Challenge St. Petersburg Grand Prix presented by Cadillac.
The 20-car World Challenge field took the track following the IndyCar race. Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) starting from eighth position, based upon fast lap from race one, was able to get a good start moving into fifth behind teammate O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga) who was in fourth. On the first lap the Cadillac ATS-V Coupe Pace Car and the Cadillac Escalade Medical SUV were dispatched under caution to Turn 3 to attend to a crash involving the GT Cup Porsche of Corey Fergus. The incident took 15 laps and nearly 30 minutes to clean up. The race went green again on lap 16. Six laps later another caution flag flew on lap 22. On lap 27, the third restart of the 50-minute event, Cooper was able drive around the outside to slip by O’Connell for fourth. On the final lap heading into Turn 1 he was able to get under the No. 31 Porsche of Patrick Long to take the last step on the podium with O’Connell following to the checkered flag in fifth.
“The restarts are super exciting,” said Cooper. “They were really the only opportunity to make up positions today. I lost some spots on the first one and then gained a few back. On the first restart I didn’t that great of a jump. They all went to the inside, all four of them. On the second restart I went to the outside, hung out beside Johnny and was able get in front of him by Turn 3. I was in fourth and not quite on the podium at that time. On the last lap I got a good run off of the last turn on Patrick Long and was able to force him into some heavy braking into Turn 1 and take the position on the last lap for third. A good day for Cadillac Racing.”
O’Connell takes another top five finish.
“You can’t win every race,” said O’Connell. “I had about the worst start that I have had in about five to six years. I fell back and had to make up a few spots. On the last restart I got held up on the inside. Michael did a great job going around the outside and then put a nice move on Patrick to take the last podium spot. A good points day for Cadillac Racing and not a scratch on either car. Hopefully young Fergus is alright, he had a pretty big hit.”
The race from St. Petersburg will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on March 20 at 12:00 p.m. ET. Cadillac Racing will travel to the streets of Long Beach, Calif. for rounds five and six April 15-17.
Cadillac Racing, since its inception in 2004, has amassed 27 wins, 94 podium finishes (including wins) and 22 pole positions. The team won the World Challenge Manufacturer Championship in 2005, 2007, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Cadillac Racing 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 cadillac.com. Cadillac’s media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.
Additional information can be viewed at Cadillac.com, GM.com, media.gm.com, world-challenge.com, johnnyoconnell.com; Twitter @MSCooper1, @JohnnyOConnell1, @Cadillac; Facebook, GM, Michael Cooper, Johnny O’Connell, Cadillac.
The Cadillac Racing media guide can be viewed at media.cadillac.com. For additional information please contact Kyle Chura, email@example.com or (248) 821-0468.