ELKART LAKE, WI (August 10, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) with drivers Scott Pruett and Joey Hand finished third in the Prototype class in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.
Hand qualified the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley on the pole, earning his first pole with CGRFS and Ford’s first pole of the 2015 season. Hand gained a five-second lead on the field shortly into the 2 hour, 40 minute race. The first full-course caution flew for a car in the wall in Turn 11 of the 4-mile road course. Hand brought the No. 01 in under yellow for tires and fuel, and the crew took a few extra seconds to determine why the car was beginning to slow on course. Hand restarted at the back of the field but raced cleanly and steadily in an effort to catch the rest of the Prototype field. Hand passed 15 cars and was running a second faster than the leaders by time he caught up with the rest of the Prototype field.
Hand brought the No. 01 in for a driver change and Pruett got behind the wheel with 40 laps to go. Shortly after taking control of the No. 01, Pruett turned the quickest lap of the race with a time of 1:57.464. Pruett pitted from the fourth position for his final stop of the race for four tires and fuel. After pit stops cycled through, Pruett raced his way into the third position and would hold off competitors to earn the third podium of the year for the No. 01 team.
The next TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race for CGRFS will be the Lone Star Le mans at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX on September 19.
NOTES OF INTEREST
After easily defending his lead from the pole position for nine laps, Hand noticed an issue and had to pit. The team identified the problem as a loose hose clamp on the turbo.
Scott Pruett: “It’s unfortunate. I can’t say enough about the Ganassi guys and Ford and the whole Ford EcoBoost program. We had a great car this weekend. It was fast. Unfortunately, we had a line come undone on the left-side boost system and we had to fix it. We just lost a significant amount of power until we were able to pit. The only good thing was the yellow came out at the right time for us to fix it. Then there were no more yellows. We got what we could get out of the day. I think even getting back to third was a pretty solid day for how far back that put us (to p23 after starting on pole).”
Joey Hand: “The beginning of the race went exactly how I dreamed it would go, and kind of the way I thought it would go before we even got here. I told Scott, I felt like we were going to win this race before I even got to the track. It was what we planned. We got a jump on the start, we put down some qualifying-caliber laps to try to build a gap, and then we were going to try to save fuel from there if we could hold that gap. It was working, then I started noticing I was losing speed. I was saving fuel and all, but it really started to go slow and those guys were coming fast. So I stopped fuel saving, started to go and I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go anywhere. The guys already knew they had a problem from the telemetry they had, so they were preparing for it and were waiting for a yellow or until the next pit stop. We got a yellow right away, so that worked out. That was the first thing that worked out. After that, we were dead last coming out of the pits and had to come through all the GT and PC traffic. It takes time to do it cleanly, even though I was hustling through it. By the time we got to the other side of it, we were 30 seconds back from the leaders and there were no yellows to help us.”