AUSTIN, TX (Sept. 21, 2015) – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) with drivers Scott Pruett and Joey Hand won overall in the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Pruett qualified the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost Riley on the pole, earning Ford’s second pole of the 2015 season. Pruett gained a five-second lead on the field shortly into the 2 hour, 40 minute race. He defended his lead on a four-wide start, pulling out to a 1-second lead before the first caution of the day would fly. Pruett kept the No. 01 on track during the caution and after the restart put a 3.5-second lead on the field before making the first pit stop of the day for four tires, fuel and a driver change. After leading the first 26 laps of the race, Hand brought the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost out of the pits in the sixth position.
Shortly after taking the wheel, Hand clocked the best lap of the race with a 1:58.752, just 0.3-seconds off co-driver Pruett’s qualifying pace. With 1-hour, 18-minutes remaining in the race, Hand cycled back to the lead as the leaders made green-flag pit stops. Hand was leading the race when the second full-course caution of the day flew and would dominate the restart to defend his lead. Hand brought the No. 01 in for his first and last pit stop with just over 40 minutes remaining to take on four tires and fuel. Late in the race Hand bettered his own best lap of the race with 1:58.616. Hand had worked up an 8-second lead with 20 minutes remaining in the race and would go on to win his second race with CGRFS and the team’s second consecutive Lone Star Le Mans with a 16.9-second margin of victory.
The next TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race for CGRFS will be the Petit Le mans at Road Atlanta on October 3.
NOTES OF INTEREST
This win marked the 60th of Scott Pruett’s career This is the duo’s fourth podium of 2015 (P2 – Long Beach, P2 Watkins Glen, P3 Road America)
The Ford EcoBoost team was the only prototype team to make only two pit stops
Pruett qualified on pole after clocking a 1:58.441 in qualifying
Scott Pruett: “The good Lord has blessed me with this incredible career. I’ve had the opportunity to work for an incredible team and team owner. Different teammates over the years, and Joey and I probably fit together the best of any so far. He grew up right on the other side of town, only about a half hour, 45 minutes away. It’s just been awesome. The whole run I’ve had, through what started in the Grand-Am Series, then the TUDOR series, and all the way through I’ve had successes, but you’re never as good as your last race and it’s been a tough year. It’s been a tough season. Without a doubt, we hadn’t won a race since this race last year with the 01 team, and then Joey came on board. He got me excited as well. We came out with a good car the first time at Daytona and broke, we had a pretty strong car at Road America and had a mechanical issue. But I just can’t say enough for the Ford Performance team and Ford EcoBoost and especially the (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) team. Champions are champions, and you look and see what Scott Dixon did (in INDYCAR) a few weeks back, winning the championship from almost 50 points back, that’s the heart of the team. It just resonates through the soul of everybody there. I’m proud to be part of it. I’m proud to get win No. 60. It’s just been an incredible run.”
Joey Hand: “We’d had a couple of good races lately, but we just hadn’t capitalized on them. It was our fault, really. This weekend, we showed up and had a lot of confidence, for sure. We were hoping for a good race on track and we did that. The boys did a great job of tuning it and making it good and made it really quick. We knew we had a good race car, we just had to capitalize on the opportunity. You’re not going to have a fast race car every week. We just tried to get out front and stay out front, that’s where our cars are best, and that’s what we did. I like these boring races, to be honest with you. I like it when it’s boring, when I’m out front. It felt good for me, and it’s good to get that first win with Scott and with the team as a full-time guy. Even though, for me, it’s only career win 14…it’s not 60, like Scott, but it’s still 14. I’m coming.”