This is a guest post written by Matthew Harber of D3 Cadillac. D3 Cadillac is one of the premier aftermarket Cadillac performance companies and is located in Signal Hill, California. For more information about D3 Cadillac and the products that they offer, visit www.d3cadillac.com.
Buttonwillow, CA July 29th, 2012. After a short break the Toyo Tires Cadillac Challenge was back in full effect. This time the technical track at Buttonwillow Raceway played host to Round 6 of the Cadillac Challenge. This track is much different than the high speed track from Round 5 at Willow Springs International Raceway. Buttonwillow has been witness in the past to many high horsepower cars getting demolished by the quick and nimble imports. The full size sedans & coupes would have their hands full with this track, right?
As day broke in Buttonwillow there was a sense of urgency. The forecast for the day called for no clouds and 95+ degree weather with little to no breeze. The catch was that the high of the day wasn’t going to be until the late afternoon. This meant that everyone was trying to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the day. But this was also the first time the Cadillac Challenge hit this track. So it was new to most drivers and they needed to quickly figure out the quickest way around the track if they were going to take their respective class wins.
The C1 Class kicked off with the regular front runners of point’s leader Steve Collins and his Matte Black CTS-V Coupe and the Silver Bullet of Sam Lollar. The morning session resulted in the first shots being fired off by Steve C setting the pace for the class. Sam Lollar was trying out a new engine combination that resulted in a significant power increase. However the combination was still being sorted out on the track and managed a 2:31 lap time around the highly technical Buttonwillow track. He was looking to make some adjustments to the car for his second run session to see if he could keep pace with Steve’s CTS-V Coupe. Unfortunately for Sam he experienced mechanical troubles thus keeping him on the sideline to watch the point’s leader attempt to increase his points lead in C1. Steve was like a surgeon on the racetrack as he cut seconds off of his lap times with laser like focus. The end result was a 2:12.603 lap time, enough to take home the victory for the C1 class.
Class C2 was in the same position as C1. Everyone was rushing to click off quick lap times early in the day. With the entire field shod in their sticky Toyo Tires all drivers pushed their cars to the limits while the track was cool. Points leader Karim T from Team Special K Racing was not at this weekend’s event so it opened up an opportunity for those below him in points. Rich Caleel and Team WPA Racing were looking to capitalize on Karim’s absence. However he would have to contend with Ed Wagner and his White CTS-V Coupe, fresh off his win from Willow Springs. The two front runners got off to an early start battling for quick lap time of the first session. As both of them looked to learn the quickest way around the track in their Cadillac CTS-V’s, Rich took the early advantage by posting the quickest time for the C2 Class. Ed W showed promise as he was only a few seconds behind going into session 2. Rich made a few adjustments to his KW coilovers and hit the track again, this time pushing out an impressive 2:14.110 second lap time. Ed W was showing progress in his CTS-V Coupe while he shaved a few seconds off his session 1 & 2 times. However he was still being outpaced by the Black Sedan from WPA Racing. As the temperature started to rise and the track started to get slick, the drivers made their adjustments to prepare for their official time. This a showdown at high noon, all the drivers pushed as hard as they could on the track in hopes of out doing their nearest competitor. Rich C managed to crank out a personal best lap time of 2:14.047 with his brutal late braking driving style. Ed W calmly looked at the posted time and reacted accordingly by clicking off his personal best lap time of 2:12.693. Much like the results at Willow Springs Ed W pulled a late lap blitz catching everyone by surprise again for the victory. This could be the calm before the storm as the C2 class looks to resume its fierce action at California Speedway August 11th-12. If this was any indication of the type of battle we are expecting to see, you will not want to miss the action at California Speedway.
Class C3 was thought to be an extension of the Willow Springs results. Team HeaVyweight Racing and Driver Bob Michaels showed up with bad intentions again. Rocking a setup that would make the Dark Knight jealous, he was intent on one thing. Another victory. Team D3 Legionnaire driven by James Gill showed up again with their fire breathing entry. The White/Green CTS-V Coupe was looking sporty and poised to make another run at Bob and his sinister black CTS-V Sedan. The first session was not the epic showing we thought it would be as Team HeaVyweight Racing did not make the initial call to grid as they were still working on their car. However Team D3 Legionnaire did not waste any time and made the best of the session by squeezing in a few laps to get familiar with the track. During their shakedown lap the White/Green CTS-V Coupe managed to log a 2:16 lap time. Knowing what they had to do to make their adjustments to their car, the D3 team quickly took to the car in preparation for the second session. In the pits there was a rumbling as there was another contender that was quickly unloading in preparation for the second session. Gary Torres and his monster first gen silver CTS-V was checking in for duty. There was a buzz around the paddock as he took to the track. Little is known about this entry until now. The Silver first gen CTS-V took its race prepped combination to the trick Buttonwillow 13CW configuration to get a lay of the land. In didn’t take long for Gary T to get comfortable and immediately clicked off a 2:11 lap time. Apparently that got the attention of Team HeaVyweight Racing and they responded in kind with a 2:08 lap time in the Matte Black Sedan. Not to be outdone Team D3 Legionnaire went back to work on the next session and managed a 2:10.432 lap time. This was going to be interesting as the teams made their adjustments between sessions. In the heat of the day the teams went back onto track. Bob M and Gary T happened to pre-grid together figuring they could distract each other with their Cadillac’s. The pace of the two cars was evident from the warm up lap and within the second lap everyone in attendance knew this was going to be a pretty nice match up. A first generation CTS-V vs. second generation CTS-V. Seeing that the party scene was getting ready to change, James G pushed the White CTS-V Coupe to a 2:09 lap time grabbing the initial lead. However that would quickly be overlooked as the two titans pushed each other to overtake the lead and not look back. This just turned into a two car race. Bob M posted his best time of the weekend with a 2:06.319 lap time to take the lead from the D3 Legionnaire coupe. Gary T knew that he would have to push his combination a little harder if he was going to take the victory away from Bob M. In the final session of the day, the first gen CTS-V was starting to find its groove. This was evident by the initial first laps of the final session. When the timer stopped as Gary passed the start finish line, the time was… 2:03.242. The time was good enough for the C3 victory and overall quickest time of the Cadillac Challenge. Gary T claimed his first victory of the season and looks to ride the momentum to the next round at California Speedway August 11th-12th.
As round 6 comes to an end, we have seen incredible performance and pace out of these full bodied Cadillac’s. As a group it is amazing to see the overall pace of each class and their competitors throughout the season. Just when we thought all the favorites were identified, a few new dark horses emerged with intentions to just win. Ed W and his CTS-V Coupe have two victories in a row to show that Willow Springs International Raceway was not just a fluke. Steve C will still have to deal with the hard charging Sam Lollar. Gary T just put everyone on notice and will have to find a way around his car if they want to lay claim to a C3 victory while he is on the track. As the series shifts to California Speedway, the higher HP cars will start to stretch their legs a little bit. The results will be amazing and the times will be impressive to say the least. Keep checking www.cadillacrace.com for additional updates and news. Happy Motoring!