Cadillac Challenge Round 4 presented by Toyo Tires & D3


The Cadillac Challenge – Round 4 Infineon Raceway



Sonoma, CA May 12th, 2012. Infineon Raceway hosted round 4 of the increasingly popular Cadillac Challenge presented by Toyo Tires. Welcome to wine county California. Of course when you are watching a bunch of modified Cadillac’s racing around the track, the wine is no longer thought of the kind you drink, but the kind that you hear. The blower wine from the Cadillac CTS-V’s was unmistakable and easily identifiable while making their rounds at Infineon Raceway. What a perfect backdrop for admiring Cadillac’s factory hotrods battling it out for on track supremacy. The weather was perfect and the track conditions were ideal for blazing quick lap times throughout the weekend.


If you’re a typical gearhead, you already know that Infineon Raceway is home to NASCAR, IRL, SCCA, and several other sanctioning bodies. Now you can add The Cadillac Challenge that that list. How would the full size Cadillac’s do once they hit the racetrack? Would they turn into rolling roadblocks on track or would they push the slower traffic off to the way side?


Coming off the last event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a few of the drivers made adjustments to their setups to improve their on track performance. In Class C1 points leader Steve Collins and his matte black CTS-V Coupe set the pace earlier in the day. His silky smooth driving style and consistency allowed him to power his way up the leader board for the morning sessions. Steve’s old foe was back in the mix as the series saw the return of Ed Wagner and his white CTS-V Coupe. These two guys were involved in a pretty epic battle in Fontana during Round 1 of the challenge back in February. Naturally they picked up where they left off. As Ed quickly started to learn the track he started knocking on the door with his own quick times. Both Ed & Steve added some extra weaponry since the two last tangled as they tried to separate from the pack with added performance. Not to be outdone, Sam Lollar and his Silver CTS-V, was there to make sure they weren’t the only ones having fun. Sam was able to click off his quickest lap of the weekend with a 2:08.950 lap time. This was good enough for a top 3 finish in the C1 class. But who would come out on top? Ed was doing everything he could to keep pace with Steve C. However Steve and his smooth lines proved too quick for Ed and his White CTS-V. Steve finished with a blistering 1:58.834 lap time compared to Ed’s quickest time of 2:02.654. Steve C is currently holding a commanding lead of 2nd place Sam Lollar. Look for Ed W to start making a mid season push as the Cadillac Challenge moves on to the second half of the season.


Class C2 has provided equally epic battles throughout the season thus far. The morning sessions promised to deliver that same level of competiveness. The leaders of this pack were alpha drivers Rich C with his 2009 black CTS-V Team WPA Racing entry and Karim T of Team Special K with his 2010 Thunder Grey CTS-V. The WPA Racing CTS-V fired off the first shot of the day in the morning session with a 2:03.611 lap time. Karim wasn’t going to be out done and turned in a respectable time of 2:05.337 as he was trying to learn the track. As both drivers sorted out their combinations through alterations of driving lines and braking points, they saw immediate gains as the day wore on. Rich was brutal in his approach with late braking and using his power to pull the car through the turns. While Karim was taking a very tactical approach using his cars momentum to carry him around the track through some of the sweepers. As both cars scampered their way around the track, the times were dropping a few tenths at a time. Taking full advantage of their Toyo R888’s sticky rubber they were both extremely quick. The final session of the day would prove who could tell us who could keep their pace throughout the day. Karim took to the track with a clear goal in mind, be the quickest CTS-V in C2 class. His approach was simple, just win baby. With a best time of 2:01.134, Karim knew that he laid it on the line and pushed to the limit. At more than 2 seconds faster than Rich’s previous lap times, Rich knew that he had to do something if he wanted to walk away from Wine country with a victory. Loaded for bear, Rich knuckled up and dropped an incredible 1:59.336 lap time during the last session. It was Team WPA Racing for the win. The big powered late breaking style worked for Rich C at Infineon Raceway. The victory brought Rich up to 3rd place in points while Team Special K still holds the points lead at the midway point.


Class C3 was going to be a good one. Since this was the first time most drivers have driven Infineon Raceway, it would take nerves of steel to see where the limits of the cars were while trying to chase quicker times. The track can be quite daunting with the rolling elevation changes and concrete guard rails waiting for your slightest mistakes. But the competitors in C3 don’t worry about little details like that. Armed with their Toyo Tires, they put the responsibility back on their equipment rather than their nerve. Last time out we saw D3’s entry, The Legionnaire, driven by James Gill grabbed the victory at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Unfortunately for them it wasn’t a point’s event. But it was a change in pace and momentum for the team as they look to get accustomed to the C3 Class performance. Point’s leader, Bob Michaels of Team HeaVyweight Racing, kicked the weekend off early. After learning the track and making his required adjustments he knew what kind of performance was going to be needed to establish pace for the C3 entries. Running the new Toyo Tires Slick, Bob was determining just how he was going to take advantage of his new found grip levels. Like a badly overhyped IPO, Bob’s times were dropping like a rock. The Cadillac Challenge paddock was a buzz when he clicked off a 1:56.848 lap time in the opening session. The entry from D3 needed to learn the track quickly and set their own pace for the day. Opening their first session with a 2:01.910 they were able to establish a good base time considering all they had to do now is learn the track. The bar was set and they knew what needed to be done if they wanted to keep pace with Bob Michaels of Team HeaVyweight Racing.


Final session of the day provided all the blower wine anyone could ask for as the Cadillac CTS-V’s ripped around the racetrack. D3 clearly knew that it would take a sub 2 minute lap time if they had any chance at besting Bob and his matte black CTS-V Sedan entry. Keep in mind that as beautiful as Sonoma is the track was ready to collect anyone that pushed past the limits. The smooth transitions and various elevation changes were the perfect backdrop for these two to duel it out, victor goes the spoils. The White/Black CTS-V Coupe from D3 was quick, but it was not quick enough. Turning in a best time of 1:59.314 they fell short of the victory with Bob’s winning time of 1:58.936. Margin of victory was less than 4 tenths of a second or .378 seconds to be exact. The victory goes to Bob Michaels of Team HeaVyweight Racing, increasing his lead in Class C3.


Infineon Raceway provided the most scenic backdrops to the Cadillac Challenge series to date. With its rewarding sweeping turns and almost melodic elevation changes it was incredible to see how smooth the Cadillac’s were on track. Like a fine Cabernet, it was smooth without any bitter aftertaste. What was probably the most incredible thing witnessed was the amazing pace of the Cadillac’s collectively as a group. All class winners were within a few tenths of each other when the weekend was over. The series promised to provide action and close competition throughout the year. At the mid way point, I would certainly say they have delivered. With Round 4 in the books, look for the series to shift back to Southern California as it heads into Willow Springs International Raceway. This is a high speed track that favors the bigger more powerful cars. Will power triumph over technique or would steady out last speed & power? There is only one way to prove, that’s on the racetrack. Until then we will continue to reflect on the magical blower wine provided by Infineon Raceway. Happy motoring.



Revised on 5/23/12