Photo: Courtesy IMSA

Mueller, Hand Lose GT Le Mans Points Lead At Road America

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Dirk Mueller was running in second place midway through the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase and looked to be on his way to a podium finish but a rear suspension failure wasn’t part of the plan for the championship leaders in the GT Le Mans class.

The No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT went to the pits after taking the Turn 5 alternate exit to get to the paddock and had to deal with a drive-thru for working under a car without proper jack stands supporting it.

“It [failed] under braking going into Turn 1,” said Mueller. “We had an issue on the suspension obviously, had to come in and change the part and rejoin. Until then it was pretty simple, pretty easy, the car was on rails, probably one of the best race cars I’ve had so I was really happy and smiling.”

Mueller and co-driver Joey Hand would finish seventh in class after two hours and 40 minutes of racing and fell in the championship standings after winning two of the last three races. Teammates Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook were victorious in the No. 67 Ford GT.

“It was a good points day for the team,” said Mueller. “The 67 won so all happy faces, a little tough luck for our side. We could’ve won it, but here we go. Hopefully one Ford GT will be winning the championship at the end of the year.”

Briscoe and Westbrook’s victory vaulted them to the top of the GTLM championship standings after finishing ahead of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen in the No. 3 Corvette. Heading into the race, Mueller and Hand led the championship ahead of the Garcia/Magnussen duo and the Westbrook/Briscoe duo with points totals of 208-207-206. Briscoe and Westbrook now lead the points with 241 over Garcia/Magnussen with 237 points. Mueller and Hand fell to third, now with 232 points.

The next race in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship is the Michelin GT Challenge on August 19th at Virginia International Raceway for GTLM and GT Daytona cars only.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.