Pruett Repeats At Circuit Of The Americas, Joins Hand To Score 60th Career Victory

Pruett Repeats At Circuit Of The Americas,

Joins Hand To Score 60th Career Victory

CORE autosport Takes Second PC Victory; Braun, Bennett Extend Points Lead

AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 19, 2015) – “It’s better late than never,” Scott Pruett said when co-driver Joey Hand took over in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley after Pruett led the first hour of Saturday’s Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The America. Hand went on to win; scoring the team’s first victory of 2015 with only one race remaining in what has been a difficult TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Pruett extended his leading career total to 60 victories in major North American sports car competition – but his first since winning at Circuit of The Americas in 2014. In a dominant effort, Pruett led the opening hour after claiming the TOTAL Pole Award. Hand then led twice during his stint, including the final 19 laps on the 20-turn, 3.4-mile layout.

Hand took the checkered flag 16.910 seconds ahead of Ricky Taylor, who joined his brother, Jordan, in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. Wayne Taylor Racing gambled on a two-tire stop late in the race that briefly put Ricky Taylor in the lead, but Hand needed only four laps to chase him down.

Prototype points leader Richard Westbrook finished third, holding off Ozz Negri in a hectic battle that went all the way to the checkered flag. Entering the race leading by a single point, Westbrook and Michael Valiante – co-drivers of the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP – enter the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 3 with a six-point lead over both Action Express Racing teams, 279-273.

Both Action Express cars were assessed costly penalties late in the event. Dane Cameron received a drive-through penalty in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP started by Eric Curran after contact with Prototype Challenge (PC) driver Renger van der Zande, and came back to finish fifth. Joao Barbosa served a 60-second penalty after contact with GT Daytona (GTD) driver Townsend Bell, and finished sixth in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP started by Christian Fittipaldi.

Braun, Bennett Extend PC Lead With Second Victory

Colin Braun and Jon Bennett gave CORE autosport its second Prototype Challenge (PC) victory of the season in the No. 54 Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09, extending their points lead in the process.

Bennett ran in the top five throughout the opening hour before turning the car over to Braun, who took the lead with 56 minutes remaining. He lost to lead to Mikhail Goikhberg on his final stop, but Braun caught the Canadian in the final 30 minutes and pulled away, despite losing his power steering on the No. 54 machine. It was the team’s sixth podium finish, with its other victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Braun took the checkered flag 25.664 seconds ahead of Bruno Junqueira, who joined Chris Cumming in scoring the third consecutive top-two finish for the No. 11 RSR Racing AutoMaxUSA ORECA FLM09. Rounding out the podium was the No. 38 Ric-Man Construction/GO-PUCK/Braille Batteries ORECA FLM09 started by James French, giving the team its second-consecutive podium finish.

Tom Kimber-Smith finished fourth in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Cuttwood ORECA FLM09 started by Mike Guasch. Entering the race five points out of the lead, Guasch and Kimber-Smith now trail by 12 points. Unofficially, Bennett and Braun have 289 points, followed by the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports duo with 277 points, and Cumming and Junqueira with 275.

JDC/Miller Motorsports pitted under the opening caution, putting the team off sequence with the other PC contenders and allowing both Matt McMurry and Goikhberg to lead the race. McMurry, running his 100th career race at age 17, led 13 laps before his pit stop, while Goikhberg led five laps.

NOTES

  • Barbosa’s final-hour 60-second penalty cost the team a lap. It marked the first time that the No. 5 Action Express Racing/Mustang Sampling Corvette DP failed to finish on the lead lap in TUDOR Championship competition dating back to the inaugural event, the 2014 Rolex 24 At Daytona.
  • Ozz Negri led the field on the parade lap in the No. 60 AERO Ligier JS P2/Honda. The car was painted in tribute to the late Justin Wilson, who co-drove with Negri, John Pew and AJ Allmendinger in winning the 2012 Rolex 24 At Daytona for Michael Shank Racing.
  • The race was slowed by only a pair of cautions, both for the No. 61 BAR 1 Motorsports Southwest Funding ORECA FLM09. Don Yount went off 23 minutes into the race, while Ryan Lewis went off with 1:15 remaining.

QUOTES

Scott Pruett – No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley

The good Lord has blessed me with this incredible career. I’ve had a lot of teammates over the years. Joey fits me really well so far. He grew up across town where I live, and it’s been great. It’s been a tough season, without a doubt. We had some bad luck this year or had strong cars and didn’t capitalize. Coming here, everything came together. Getting win No. 60 is incredible.”

Joey Hand – No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley

“For me it’s a big one, my first win with the team as a full-time guy. I’m so thankful to be a part of this team; it’s a bunch of winners and champions. I knew it would be a good place for me. We struggled right after Daytona. We couldn’t find it. We had a few good races lately but couldn’t capitalize on it. This weekend we showed up and had a lot of confidence. The boys did a great job tuning it in. That’s what it’s all about. We knew we had a fast race car so we tried to get out in front and stay in front. That’s what we do best. When you have a good race car it makes everything a lot easier.”

Colin Braun – No. 54 CORE autosport Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09

“Jon had a really nice opening stint keeping things clean. Then we had a really fast racer. We had good stops, great strategy and nice pace. We’ve been heads down this whole season and that hard work has paid off. We’ve had some races that didn’t go our way, and certainly without power steering isn’t as much fun. John pays me to drive the car as fast as I can, and when you get second or third there isn’t an asterisk that says ‘oh it would have been a win with power steering.’ So it was a great win. It was definitely motivating, leading the race, it gives you a bit of extra juice to get it done.”

Jon Bennett – No. 54 CORE autosport Flex-Box/Composite Resources ORECA FLM09

“Any day you end up wet with champagne is never bad. This leads to Petit well in position for the championship which is when Murphy’s law likes to jump in. There was lots of contact during the start and the restarts. I had to thread the needle a few times to escape from that. I was able to hand Colin a square car and he was able to jump off like a rabbit.”

Contact:

Nate Siebens

Senior Manager, IMSA Communications

(386) 310-6568

nsiebens

imsa-p race cota-rls.pdf

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