Scott Pruett captured his first win in one year and the 60th win overall along with teammate Joey Hand after a dominant Lone Star Le Mans
Pruett jumped to an early lead and kept Jordan Taylor at bay over the course of the first stint and navigated GT traffic flawlessly.
A spin by Don Yount’s PC entry brought out the yellow flag and brought the rest of the Prototype field down pit road while Pruett and Oswaldo Negri stayed out.
Pruett picked up where he left off on the restart and jetted away and would lose the lead under green flag pitstops. Once Joey Hand climbed aboard the #01, he had his work cut out for him as he was now in third place as now Ricky Taylor found himself in second place behind Memo Rojas in the Delta Wing, who took the lead with an out of sequence pitstop.
Hand was up to the task at hand as down Ricky and passed him with ease on lap 55. Following the pass, Hand launched away and stretched his lead out to 16.910s second lead by the end of the race.
The Taylor brother’s second place finish is their first since winning at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park back in July. The points leading Visit Florida Racing team of Michael Valeinte and Richard Westbrook extended their lead in the championship as they competed the podium following Westbrook holding off a hard charging John Pew on a last lap battle.
Joao Barbosa was assessed a penalty for contact with the #63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari of Townsend Bell, which relegated him down to 6th in class. Barbosa and Bell rubbed fenders down the backstraight before hitting again in turn 11, spinning Bell out.
With the penalty, that ends Action Express Racing’s record of completing every lap in the TUDOR Championship.
CORE Autosport survived to take their second win of the season in the Spec Prototype Challenge class.
After a clean first stint by Jon Bennett, Colin Braun soon found himself in trouble as the power steering failed on his Oreca FLM09 chassis just 15 minutes into his stint.
Braun would ultimately take the lead from Mikahil Goikberg, who found himself in the lead almost unintentionally as teammate Matt McMurry spun early in the race and forced the team to pit early, putting them off sequence.
Once Braun took the lead, Goikberg soon fell into the clutches of Bruno Junqueira, whose teammate and polestitter Chris Cumming led much of the opening stint, while the #54 pulled away to an easy win.
In GLTM, the #25 BMW Team RLL team of Dirk Werner and Bill Auberlen ended Porsche’s run of four consecutive wins and took a surprising win after the #911 Porsche team dominated the entire race.
Polesitter Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy drove flawless stints, but it proved to be all for naught as better fuel mileage by their BMW rivals proved to be their undoing.
Tandy was walking away with the win after taking the lead just before the two hour mark from Lucas Luhr but suddenly pulled onto the pitlane along with teammate Jorg Bergmeister, which handed the lead over to Werner, who ran a quiet but perfectly strategized race.
In GTD, Riley Motorsports claimed their second straight win at COTA with Jeroen Bleekemolen and local boy Ben Keating taking a come from behind victory.
Keating started the race in second place and held that position with first stint but was given a penalty for an unsafe release after their first pitstop.
Co-driver Jeroen Bleekemolen took advantage of hitting the yellow flag at the right time to make up time and ran down the #23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche of Mario Farnbacher. Bleekemolen was not out of the woods yet as Markus Palttala started to run the #33 Viper down a couple tenths a lap.
In the end, Bleekemolen held on with just one second in the bank.
“It was one of the nicest races I’ve ever done,” said Bleekemolen. “I got in the car under yellow and we ended up having such a nice fight with five or six other cars.”
“Some guys had mistakes, some guys had the wrong strategy and all of a sudden I was leading! I had to push hard at the end because Markus Patlalla was catching me.”
Image: Chip Ganassi Racing