Ford Chip Ganassi Racing battled to a double-podium finish on the streets of Long Beach at the BUBBA® burger Grand Prix.
The No. 67 and 66 Ford GTs finished p2-3 with drivers Ryan Briscoe and Dirk Müller in the drivers’ seats after Joey Hand put the No. 66 on pole in qualifying.
“It was just crazy,” Westbrook said. “I hope everyone enjoyed watching it. As a driver, it was really difficult out there. It was such a shallow line and if you put one wheel six inches off your normal line, you were in bad shape. Lots of people hit the wall out there. There was just no grip off line. I think the conditions on the track helped us out a bit. We didn’t have the fastest car and we just kept our heads down, had a good pit stop and good strategy. We always fight to win but I’m delighted to get second.”
It was Westbrook and Briscoe’s second-consecutive second-place finish at the event.
“It was great result for us,” Briscoe said. “We always want to win and we’re always prepared to win, but realistically, with this level of competition, you just do your best and celebrate when it all comes together. I think today’s second place is a huge result for us from where we started after we struggled to find pace in practice and qualifying. I think we just missed a little on set up. I had a lot of pressure from our teammates. Dirk did a great job and we had some great racing there at the end.”
In qualifying Friday, Hand clocked a 1:16.869 lap, a new track record, to top the GTLM standings. Westbrook qualified the No. 67 Ford GT p6.
Hand and Müller were local favorites as Hand, from Sacramento, Calif., brought many friends and family to the race.
“I think the whole weekend went pretty good,” said Hand, who earned the pole on his last lap in qualifying. “To win the pole like that, that was one of my favorite qualifying sessions ever. We were quick. The (No. 66) crew did a great job tuning the car. We got hit from behind on lap one and that hurt us throughout the race, but we still had a pretty quick car. All in all, I think it was a good day for us. It was a good points day. We just have to keep collecting points. The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series rewards consistency and that’s what we have to keep doing. Mid-Ohio (the next race on the schedule) is a track we really like and Dirk and I have done well there before, so we’ll move on and try to just keep collecting points.”
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing heads to Mid-Ohio May 4-6, 2018 for the Mid-Ohio SportsCar Showdown.