Photo: Cadillac Racing

PWC: O’Connell wins GT pole at Monterey

Leave a comment

Johnny O’Connell needs to win and hope Patrick Long and Alvaro Parente in front of him don’t score any points if he is to retain his Pirelli World Challenge GT championship. He’s off to the best possible start in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, scoring the pole for Sunday’s GT race finale.

A Cadillac release is below. Meanwhile, Long will roll off second in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, and Parente will start sixth in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3. Parente leads Long by nine points (1554-1545) with O’Connell more than 100 back, but now having secured seven points for pole today.

The full grid for Sunday’s GT/GTA/GT Cup race is linked here.

Cadillac Racing driver Johnny O’Connell will start the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) season finale on pole at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca tomorrow.

O’Connell (Flowery Branch, Ga.) drove his No. 3 Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe in Velocity Red to the GT pole position this morning. He posted a time of 1:23.960 around the 2.2-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca circuit. The pole is his first on the season for the four time PWC driver champion and takes care of one goal on the weekend – start from the front. With O’Connell securing the pole, both he and teammate Cooper (Syosset, N.Y.) remain mathematically possible for the championship.

“It was a total team effort,” O’Connell said. “In the first open practice on Thursday morning, 10-minutes into the session I got hit exiting the Corkscrew. The Cadillac Racing crew had to build a lot of the race car. They actually got me back out later in the day. This is my first pole of the year, so that keeps my streak going of getting one in every PWC season. Needless to say I was motivated. We are doing what we need to do, get the points for the pole and remain in a fight for this championship.”

Teammate Cooper will start his No. 8 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R Coupe directly behind O’Connell in third in that valuable Laguna Seca inside lane.

“A good run for Cadillac Racing with Johnny on the pole,” Cooper said. “I was a little off on where I wanted to be with the set-up. We will work on it and get it set for the race. I am on the inside second row, which is a good place to be. A lot can happen on the outside of Turn 1. We can race from that position.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.