This Facebook Post from Johnny O’Connell following the news that Andy Pilgrim would be leaving Cadillac Racing warrants a wide sporting audience:
Those that know me well, know I rarely post things on facebook or social media, though I do tweet about racing and our amazing Cadillac Racing success. In light of the recent announcement regarding my friend Andy Pilgrim, I feel the need to point out another side to Andy most don’t know.
Through the years I’ve been teamed with lots of great talent. Miller… Morton… Luyendyk… Brabham… Bernard… Fellows… Magnussen… Pruett… Gavin… Garcia… Beretta. And Andy Pilgrim. All great drivers.
With Andy I have had a great teammate. For five amazing years we had each others back. I was happy when he did well, and he was happy when I did well. Racing is truly a team sport and the big picture was being successful as a team for Cadillac. For the mechanics, the engineers, and everyone that supported the team. The success of the team being the most important thing.
For five years Andy pushed me hard, and made me become a far better driver than I ever was at Corvette. His dedication to the team and the fans of Cadillac never waned, and he always gave 100 percent. He would reach out to other competitors when they were seeking help, and never in all the time I’ve known him let his anger or frustration get the better of him. Respected and admired by all that know him.
A man of great integrity, born in England, he became an American citizen years ago, something I know he was extremely proud of. He is devoted to racing but another side I think has long been overlooked.
Through the Andy Pilgrim Foundation he has for years dedicated himself to promoting safe driving for teens. He has met with top politicians in Washington and around the country, not for financial gain, but for the betterment of safer driving. After races while I was flying home to be a dad, he would be flying off to speak to high school teens and government officials to promote safe driving technique.
Needless to say I will miss him as my teammate. We would always like to leave the track early, and grab dinner where we would discuss the race cars, strategy, politics, and then he’d play junior psychologist in trying to help me with my girlfriend or kid issues. He has a way of thinking and speaking with clarity and directness that I always appreciated and found refreshing.
Andy will always be a strong ambassador to racing and of course Cadillac. As based solely on his age he is rated a silver driver with the FIA, I’m certain that we will see him continue his career, and be successful to whatever team is fortunate enough to sign him up. Like always I’ll be cheering him on.
Rocking chair equity is a term I like to use with people with whom I’ve been fortunate enough to make memories that years from now I will look back upon with pride and happiness, and mentally recall amazing times. So Andy, thanks for some of the best rocking chair equity I’ve had in my life. You are a great friend, competitor, and racing driver. Love ya brother.