© 2019 by Andy Pilgrim

Road Atlanta SCCA Speed GT: A busy weekend to end the year

October 3, 2008

Team Remington Cadillac managed to pull off a third place finish to end the SCCA Speed GT Championship season and it was very hard fought podium.

It was my 29th race at Road Atlanta since 1985 - in eight series - and my 15th podium finish. Those facts alone, and especially if you throw in six wins – that’s a percentage that’ll make any driver happy. And it certainly does.

Twenty-eight races – everything from 1,000-mile Petit Le Mans, to getting to race only 27 laps of a three-hour race in 1996 because a tornado was coming through, to a really stupid 12-minute World Challenge race in a downpour a year ago. I can’t imagine what that one cost everyone per minute, lol.

So many people asked me what’s going on for 2009 and I, for sure, have no clue.  I have been told GM has nothing for me if the Cadillac program cannot continue, but that’s really the way it’s been since 2006. I’ll be hoping for another December miracle to keep me under the GM tent.

Jim Taylor, General Manager of GM’s Cadillac Division, is really trying to put something together. Jim’s been a great supporter of the race program, but you don’t have to be a genius to know how hard it is to find money these days, especially if you’re a car company. 

Michael McCann and his team have done the most incredible job this year as Team Remington Cadillac.  His crew, led by Dan Fiffick and helped by Kevin, Brian, Chris and Bruce, did not get their hands on the cars until just a few weeks before the season-opening race at Sebring late last Winter.

They worked so hard all year and managed to put me just one spot back from winning another championship and on the podium eight times in10 races.  
Just a special note here: I was not the only one to appreciate the Team Remington crew’s hard work. SCCA Pro Racing officials awarded Dan and his team the Crew of the Year trophy, which was really great.

My old crew chief, Neville Agass from Pratt and Miller, was my weekend car chief all year and did all the calls on the radio.  As always, 110 % is the only thing Neville knows, and I cannot say how much I appreciate his efforts. 
 
Ben Brady, also from Pratt and Miller, was the car’s set-up engineer this year, taking over from my long-time engineer Ken Flory. Ben did a great job giving me the best possible set-up’s for this five-year-old heaviest-car-in-the-series at every race.
    
I came into today’s race second place in the points, only 92 points behind my old friend and great competitor, Randy Pobst.  It wasn’t so long ago –was it? - that both Randy and I were just kids, it seemed. Heck, we’ve both been racing professionally for 25 years now.

With a huge, 92-point lead, today was Randy’s cruise-and-collect day. If he finished 25th or better in a 27-car field, the championship was his, regardless of what AP did.  He qualified fifth and I was third. Maybe stuff could happen; you never know.

At the start of the race, Brandon Davis and his Ford jumped past pole-sitter Tommy Milner; I also got by Tommy, when he spun the tires in the new Rahal-Letterman Aston Martin.

The Aston and the Ford were way too quick for my CTS-V, as their very quick straightaway and cornering speeds soon showed me it really doesn’t help to be the heaviest car out there and running on the same size tires as guys you’re chasing. 

The Ford and Aston kind of ran off, but I had the best race of the day with Eric Curran, who was right on my rear end trying all he could to get by for the last 12 laps.
  
Everyone who came up after the race, including the Speed TV guys, said Eric and I had the battle of the day, so hopefully they pick it up on the show when it airs.  

As you will see, we ran very, very close but did not take each other out.  I trust Eric and he knows to trust me.  He’s hungry, but he’s not starving. By that, I mean he’s going to put more moves on me than a drunk on girls at a bar, but he’s not going to knowingly jeopardize either of us.

 

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