© 2019 by Andy Pilgrim

New year, new team, same old Sebring

March 24, 2009

I am so happy to tell all of you that we had a great top 15 finish in the new K-Pax Volvo S60 AWD race car.  After being allowed to start at the back of the pack (25th) due some teething problems in qualifying I ended up scratching to a 13th place finish.

We knew we were not completely race ready for Sebring but the team decided we should go there to support the series and to hopefully learn a lot and get a few points if we could. 
 
The reaction of all the fans that came by to see the car was unanimous.  I heard wow, stunning, nasty/mean looking (in a good way), beautiful and more.  The car really does look fantastic and the fans just loved seeing it.  It was very good to see how much the fans appreciated us being at Sebring even though they understood we were not quite race ready.  I have to say thanks to all the Vette and Cadillac fans who came by to say hi and see the car, I’m not sure they are all going out this week to buy Volvos but they sure looked impressed, lol. 

Randy Pobst is my teammate this year on the K-Pax/3R racing team and the defending SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT series Champion for the last two years.  I think it is going to be a great year running with Randy, I have tremendous respect for his drive and talent, but best of all, we are friends and have known each other a long time.  I think I met Randy for the first time in 1984 and he was already a legend in auto crossing.  We both got started in racing with no help and here we are.  We have been competitors, won races driving together and now we’re teammates, it’s going to be a great year.

Neither of us ran a full lap in practice or qualifying and it was ultimately decided to try to run my car from the back to get a little data if we could.  We were off the pace a little in lap times, which is perfectly normal with a brand new race car.  The plan was to run some laps in the race and keep an eye on engine temps and see how far we could run without hurting anything, as we wanted to have a good car for testing after Sebring race week.

Low and behold we ended up running along near the back of the pack, picking off cars when I could. I had a great seat for some typical and very entertaining side by side bumping and banging World Challenge GT style.  There was a late yellow for debris on the track;  the restart ended up with cars coming together in turn one, turn 3, turn 4 and turn 6. It was nuts I can tell you.  It all ended with me making up six or seven positions in all this mess and coming home with a 13th place finish.

The crew had worked so hard to get to Sebring, it was a great end to a month of hard labor for them and see the car finish the race.  They all came to the wall as I crossed the finish line as if I had won the race, it was really great.  The next stop is Long Beach and we hope to test before then.  I look forward to the next installment of 2009. 

 

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