If there’s ever a good time for a bro-hug, it’s when your teammate ensures that you get your sixtieth ever win in top-level North American sportscar races. Scott Pruett increased his record number of wins today at Circuit of the Americas and proved that his once problematic car was now right where the team wanted it.
“Joey [Hand] and I fit together the best out of any [teammate] I’ve had,” explained Pruett after the race.
After a rocky start to this season, this milestone is even more meaningful to Pruett. The car wasn’t quite sorted at the start of the year, but today, it seemed untouchable. Not even the Jalopnik Puffa-Bump could launch another car around the number 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost Riley Daytona Prototype today.
“If you have a car that drives nice, it’s fun,” explained Pruett. He didn’t mind having a bit of a boring race since he was in the lead.
Today’s win brought a ton of relief to the pair of drivers. For Joey Hand, this was his first win with the team as a full-time driver as well. Pruett, on the other hand, is relieved to be back on top of the podium.
“The good Lord must be with this incredible career,” said Pruett after the race.
Wayne Taylor Racing came in second, and the number 90 VisitFlorida.com Corvette DP rounded out the podium in third. The number 90 duo of Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook extended their championship lead as a result.
Who has the second most wins in North American sportscar series? Bill Auberlen, who drove the number 25 BMW Team RLL Z4 GTE to a win with teammate Dirk Werner in GLTM class. This was Auberlen’s 55th career win, to which he wouldn’t like to be reminded that he still has the same number of races to go to claim the record from Pruett.
At one point in the race, the team set the car on super-lean fuel map intended for running behind a pace car to save fuel and make it to the end on minimal stops. Auberlen thought it was crazy, but it worked and gave them the win.
This win tightens up the points standings in GTLM, though. Only three points separate BMW Team RLL’s number 25 car from the championship leading number 911 Porsche North America car. The season finale, Petit Le Mans, is in only two weeks, and it should be a ridiculous balls-out fight between BMW and Porsche for the series championship.
Risi Competizione came in second in GTLM today, which gave the Ferrari of Austin-emblazed car a podium in their home state. Hooray! The championship leading number 911 Porsche 911 of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet finished third in the class.
The Prototype Challenge class leaders extended their lead today as well. The number 54 CORE Autosport car of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun had an extra special win, as this was the first time Colin’s dad was calling the race for the team. It was a hard fought win for the team, as the power steering went out in the car about an hour and fifteen minutes into the two hour and forty minute race.
Finally, some of the few Texans I ever see actually wearing cowboy hats at Circuit of the Americas won in GTD. The Riley Motorsports car of Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen took the win there, with the BMW Z4 of Turner Motorsports not far behind at the end. Paul Miller Racing rounded out the GTD podium in third place.
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