Partial Reprint from Cadillac Racing Press Room
Saturday, August 12 Tooele, Utah - Cadillac V-Performance drivers Johnny O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) finished the first of two Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX races in fourth on Saturday August 12 at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC). Teammates Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) came home in eighth.
In the morning qualifying session, Ricky Taylor had the wheel of the No. 3 Velocity Red Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and turned a time of 1:48.386 that had him and O'Connell starting fifth on the GT Pro/Pro grid. In the No. 8 Vector Blue Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe Cooper put in a lap of 1:48.497 that had him and Jordan Taylor starting seventh. The duo lead the PWC SprintX points coming into the weekend.
At the drop of the green for the 50-minute, two driver race, the field of 23 cars were spread across the wide UMC front stretch into Turn 1. Cooper was pushed wide in the No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and got shuffled around losing a couple of positions. Ricky Taylor was able to hold onto the front runners as the first laps cycled through. Cooper was the first to pit for the driver change handing off to Jordan Taylor 30-minutes into the race. Ricky Taylor pitted about a minute later and gave the controls of the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe to O'Connell. The race went caution free. O'Connell and Ricky Taylor just missed the podium in fourth and Cooper and Jordan Taylor finished eighth.
"All things considered we have a lot to be proud of," O'Connell said. "We didn't expect to be too close to the front with our weight and lack of straight line speed. In my stint you saw what the difference is when you are weighted down, it really eats the tires. I just couldn't catch the Porsche. Ricky did a great job in qualifying and the start. Once I got in we went slippery pretty early. I thought the Acura might have been coming on me, but we worked traffic a little bit better."
"The team performed well," Ricky Taylor said. "The car handled well in qualifying and the race. I don't think we have the pace of the Acura or the Ferrari here. It is a nice clean weekend for me and Johnny so far. We are working well together and we were able to get a solid result of fourth today."
"It was a decent race," Jordan Taylor said. "Judging by the speeds we have seen all weekend we knew it would be a tough race. At the start Michael got pushed wide and was shuffled around a little and that cost a couple of spots and then he got one back. We were able to get another position on pit strategy. We finished in front of the No. 2 car [Mercedes] which is a close competitor in the championship and the 58 [Porsche]. We have a good idea of what the car is like in race conditions and we can work on it for tomorrow."
"The start was pretty hectic," Cooper said. "Every time I made a move to gain a position it seems like I lost two. By the time I got to Turn 6 I was ninth. I got stuck there. We had a good battle with Dalziel in the Mercedes. I couldn't get by him on the track, but we did in the pits. That was good as they are our closest rival in the SprintX Championship. We will take the positives and move on to the race on Sunday."
Saturday, August 12 Tooele, Utah - Cadillac V-Performance drivers Michael Cooper (Syosset, N.Y) and Jordan Taylor (Apopka, Fla.) finished third today in race two at the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX Championship at Utah Motorsports Campus (UMC). Teammates Johnny O'Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) and Ricky Taylor (Lake Mary, Fla.) came to the checker in fifth.
PWC SprintX rules have the drivers who finished race one start race two. O'Connell lined up the No. 3 Velocity Red Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe on the second row in fourth and Jordan Taylor started the No. 8 Vector Blue Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe from the fourth row in eighth.
At the drop of the green O'Connell raced hard into Turn 1 and moved up to fifth with Jordan Taylor settling into ninth. On lap two O'Connell moved into third in class and the younger Taylor also moved up a position into eighth. The two Cadillac ATS-V.R cars pitted 31-minutes into the 60-minute race. Soon after, 36-minutes in, the races first caution flew with Ricky Taylor in fourth and Michael Cooper in fifth. On the restart, with debris on his tires, Ricky Taylor was forced to give-up a position into Turn 1 and also had contact with the No. 9 McLaren. Then at the 46-minute mark a second full course caution flew. With just three-minutes remaining the race went green. Michael Cooper was able to drive his No. 8 Cadillac ATS-V.R by his nemesis in the championship, Patrick Long (No. 58 Porsche), for third. Ricky Taylor was able to help the championship hopes of Cooper by putting the Porsche behind him as well at the finish and taking fifth place with the 58 coming sixth.
"It was exciting at the end," Cooper said. "I was way up on the wheel and in attack mode. We just can't keep losing points to these guys. I think we extended our SprintX points lead today. Jordan did a good job all weekend. The restarts really helped us to make-up track position and allowed me to put the 58 Porsche behind me in the last two laps."
"My stint wasn't the most exciting," Jordan Taylor said. "I got out dragged at the start. We were starting behind some of the Pro/Am cars with the Pro drivers in them. They were taking some risks, so it didn't make sense to battle them. Once we got through the first lap I kind of settled in. Michael did a great job on the restarts to get us on the podium. It was a great weekend for SprintX points for Michael and myself and for Cadillac."
"Another good weekend for Cadillac," Ricky Taylor said. "I messed up that first restart, otherwise I thought we would have had a good shot at the podium. It was a good run for Michael and Jordan. I was able to help the cause a little putting the 58 Porsche behind me. It was a good points day for them for sure. Very exciting racing in those last two restarts. Looking forward to supporting Cadillac for the championship at COTA in a few weeks."
"I was very pleased with my stint," O'Connell said. "The first couple of laps were fun. I thought I was going to be able to get into second as a couple guys went high into Turn 1 and then the Acura came back on me real hard. I had the Mercedes amateur car of Jeroen Bleekemolen behind me and I let him go. He went by the Acura and that allowed me to get by them as well. I got some pressure from the Porsche at the start of my run, but him behind. When the pits were open I had two back-markers battling each other and I got held up a little. It was a risk reward deal. Ricky drove well there at the end so a positive day for us."
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