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O’CONNELL: St. Pete Debrief

Johnny O’Connell checks in following PWC round at St. Pete…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

I’m proud of the start we are having this year at Cadillac Racing. We’re getting points, and executing at the level that is expected of us.

It’s phenomenal racing at the moment. Qualifying is more critical than ever, which makes that one of the most enjoyable parts of the weekend.

For race one, well it was pretty much processional. The Porsche walked away, and as hard as I was pushing could only maintain the gap to the McLaren of Alvaro Parente in front of me. The guy is very good, and I know he was pushing as hard as I was.

We definitely used up everything that Pirelli gave us that day and it was cool having a street race where every lap was green. We finished third, which was about right as we turned the third fastest lap in the race.

Again, starting from third for race two, I had another lousy start and got put back to seventh.

Not too worried being back there as I felt as the run went on we would move up, but the cautions put an end to that game plan.

The first restart for me in the No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe was good. I was able to get three guys in turns one and two to move up to fourth.

We might have been able to get close enough to take a run on the Porsche of Patrick Long had it stayed green, but right at the end it went full course caution.

The last restart, well I didn’t do poorly, but my teammate Michael Cooper made a good move on the outside of one to take that position, good hard racing.

So we wound up with a third and a fifth. And both cars rolled into the trailer pretty much without a scratch.

Looking forward to a few weeks off and being at Long Beach next month. I kind of feel I got ripped off there last season, and definitely have unfinished business there with the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe.

I also want to mention that I was so glad to hear that Cory Fergus was ok. He and his father are also alumni of Denison University, so of course I want them to do well.

I’m also grateful that the track designers changed that section of Turn 3 as that wreck on last year’s circuit would have been way worse. It’s always a bad feeling when you drive by something that big.

Johnny O'Connell (@JohnnyOConnell1) is a three-time American Le Mans Series champion and four-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Team Cadillac in the Pirelli World Challenge.

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