IndyCar Rookie of the Year candidate Jack Hawksworth teamed with Chris Cumming to win the Prototype Challenge class at the Tudor United SportsCar Championship’s Brickyard Grand Prix on July 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
"It feels pretty awesome," Hawksworth said. "It was a lot of fun. We had a great battle with Bruno (Junqueira) and ended up with an RSR [Racing] 1-2. We were both slicing through the traffic. I just got my chance and I took it. My first win of my year, and I'll take it.” Prototype Challenge are spec-built Chevrolet-powered race cars.
Hawksworth, who led his first 31 laps in the IndyCar series during the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in May, had to fight with Junqueira -- himself a former Indy driver -- throughout the final hour of the 2 hr, 45 min race. He made his move with about 5 min remaining. "(The fight) seemed to last an eternity because it was really a battle for 45 minutes," Hawksworth said. "We were battling through the traffic. It was really like a game of chess. I kept asking the guys, 'How long is left? How long is left?' Once it got to five minutes, I knew it was time to go. Fortunately (Junqueira) caught traffic and he didn't get a great exit off (Turn) 2 there. I was strong there and I was able to get by him in (Turn) 4. It was a clear run from there until I got to a slow car on the last corner."
Another driver who had a strong Indianapolis 500 in May also had a strong run in his first sportscar race at IMS. Sage Karam teamed with Scott Pruett to drive the No. 01 Daytona Prototype Ford-Riley for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates to a runner-up finish in the race after leading the race at the midway point.
"They say Indianapolis is good to some people and so far she's been good to me," said the 19-yr old from Nazareth, Pa., who has finishes of second in the Freedom 100 and ninth in the Indianapolis 500 in his previous oval starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "The Chip Ganassi Racing guys really put together a masterpiece of a car for me. I would be happier if we had won, but as far as my performance and the team's performance it was a great result."
In all, five Indianapolis 500 starters competed in the Brickyard Grand Prix, including Hawksworth and Karam. Townsend Bell and James Davison finished fourth in the GT Daytona Class. Martin Plowman retired from the race early.
Hawksworth moved from P18 on the grid to finish sixth for BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian (Honda) the prior weekend in Race 2 of Indycar’s double-header on the streets of Toronto. Cumming normally drives with former Indy pilot Alex Tagliani, who was suspended by IMSA officials for one race due to an incident in Watkins Glen. It was Cumming’s debut on the IMS road course.
"We looked at a number of drivers to fill this seat,” said RSR Racing Principal Partner Paul Gentilozzi before the race. “We knew we wanted someone with experience at the Indy road course and Jack certainly fit that requirement given his success.”