IMSA: Pruett, Hand control COTA race

Joey Hand. Getty Images

AUSTIN, Texas – The dominant car all weekend, the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford, has finally won its first race of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Scott Pruett led early, then Joey Hand led often after taking over, as the two won the No. 01 car’s first race since Circuit of The Americas last year.

The team also won the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona with its IndyCar and NASCAR full-season pilots, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Jordan and Ricky Taylor ended second, while the No. 90 Racing Corvette DP of Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook ended in third.

Westbrook held off the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Ozz Negri, who co-drove with John Pew, for the final podium position.

Negri charged back following a drive-through incurred for hitting a GT car; it was nearly a dream result for the car that was adorned in a special tribute livery to the late Justin Wilson, who was honored during pre-race activities.

CORE autosport’s pairing of Colin Braun and Jon Bennett won in Prototype Challenge and are closer to that class title as a result.

The No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR was well positioned to win its fourth consecutive race in GT Le Mans, but its utterly dominant drive by polesitter Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy went for naught after both it and the No. 912 Porsche needed a splash for fuel inside the final five minutes.

It handed the win to the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE of Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen, aiding that car’s championship chances.

Meanwhile the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating won in GT Daytona, overcoming an earlier stop-and-hold plus 60-second penalty for improper pit exit.

The No. 33 pairing also won last year and Keating won in the American Le Mans Series GTC class in 2013.

The series heads to Petit Le Mans for the season finale at Road Atlanta in two weeks.