LONG BEACH, Cali. (April 19, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) with drivers Scott Pruett and Joey Hand finished second in the Tequila Patron SportsCar Showcase in Long Beach for the first 100-minute sprint race of the season.
Pruett took control of the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley for the opening stint of the race after qualifying in the second position. The No. 01 trailed behind the No. 10 Corvette DP for the first quarter of the race before taking control of the lead after staying out two laps longer than the remainder of the 17-car field. The team pitted on lap 40 for four Continental tires, a full load of fuel and a driver change. Hand returned to the track in first position however the No. 10 was able to regain the lead at the 55-minute mark after making contact with the No. 01. The No. 01 navigated the 1.968-mile street course, staying within one-second of the race leader, but was unable to recover the lead. Hand crossed the finish line in the second position and secured a sport on the podium.
The next TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race will be the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Presented by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, CA on May 3.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
The No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley led a total of four laps in the Tequila Patron SportsCar Showcase. This was the second podium finish for the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley in the 2015 season out of three races.
Scott Pruett: “I think one, it’s always great to be here at Long Beach. This is one of the premier street track events in the U.S. I’ve been coming here a lot of years. It’s a fantastic place. The crowds are great. The racing’s great. With that being said, we ran hard with the No. 10. It seems like it was the No. 10 and us. We pretty much walked away from the rest of the group, and traffic always plays a part in it, but this is a tough place to pass. You have to make that move to start. I tried to make that move to start and couldn’t make it stick. We ran around, closed up that gap at the end. We were able to stretch to two more laps there (before pitting) with the Ford EcoBoost engine and take the lead. Unfortunately we weren’t able to hang on to it. Joey did a great job. Congratulations to (Wayne Taylor Racing). It’s nice to get the monkey off our back. It’s been great to see the No. 01 Ford back in the front here at Long Beach and hopefully we can get on a roll now.”
Joey Hand: “Everybody knows this is one of my favorite tracks, of all of the venues around the world I’ve been to. I think this is just a great race and a great show for the fans. I’ve just had really good luck here since 2001. It’s a fun track. It’s a street course you can actually race on. It’s still a street course where you can knock down the walls if you don’t do it right. I think street racing in general is just something I like to do. Today we had a good Ford EcoBoost (car). The car ran pretty well. We just struggled a little bit with traction here and there, but we did the best with what we had. In practice, we struggled a little bit but the guys really worked on the car and did a really good job of making it better. Scott threw down in qualifying and just kept throwing down and got us to start from the front row. Starting here from the front row is a big part of how you’re going to finish the race. He did a great job on the first stint there and kept the car in second place and on the pit stop, I was dealing with some seatbelt issues and when they dropped the car and said ‘go,’ I got a little antsy and stalled. I don’t think it cost us too much time, but it cost us some time. We still came out in front of the No. 10, but they were on hot tires and tried to attack as best as I could, but couldn’t hold him off. I tried to settle in second and see what I could do with it. Long Beach is one of those places where people say ‘you don’t look too happy about second,’ and I say ‘no, I’m not too happy about second.’ To be brutally honest, I’m not happy about second any day, but especially not at Long Beach, when you can see the bumper of the first-place car and you can have a go at him and have a chance to win the race.”