Patrick Kelly and Spencer Pigot received a surprise after Saturday’s Cadillac Grand Prix. Instead of finishing second as expected, they were declared the winner of the LMP2 class at Sebring International Raceway.
IMSA officials ruled that Henrik Hedman, who shared the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA ORECA LMP2 07 with Gustavo Menezes that finished 12.258 seconds ahead of Kelly and Pigot, hadn’t met the minimum driving time of 45 minutes during the 2-hour 40-minute race.
That dropped the No. 81 car to last place in the class and awarded the class win and ninth place overall to the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA shared by Kelly and Pigot.
Kelly and Pigot were congratulating the DragonSpeed drivers when they heard the ruling over the track’s public-address system.
"I had already said ‘good job’ to Gustavo," Pigot said. "We used to race go-karts together. This is the first time we’ve raced against each other in probably 10 years, but it was cool to be back battling with him. I got out of the car and thought we finished second, I actually heard over the loudspeaker that they got a penalty. It was as a surprise to me as it was to all of us."
It’s not exactly the way Pigot and Kelly wanted to win, but they’ll take it.
"I’ll take a win anytime I can get it," Kelly said. "This isn’t the way you want to get it, necessarily. I want to take my hat off to the guys at DragonSpeed. They drove a hell of a race. They had fantastic pace. They seem like really great guys. Kudos to them."
It was Pigot’s first win in IMSA. He was a late replacement for Simon Trummer, who competed in the European Le Mans Series race in France this weekend.
"It’s great to get a win here at Sebring," Pigot said. "I was close to a podium in the Twelve Hours, but never got to finish the race. I just got a call from (team owner) Bobby (Oergel) last week. I was sitting at home and they said they needed a driver and asked if I’d be interested. I’m very thankful to them."
The ruling moved the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports driven by Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson up to second in the LMP2 class. Dwight Merriman and Kyle Tilley completed the class podium in the No. 18 Era Motorsport ORECA.
The season resumes July 31-Aug. 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.