Hawksworth, Heistand Expand WeatherTech Sprint Cup Lead with Second Consecutive GTD Win in AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus
Don't look now, but AIM Vasser Sullivan is getting comfortable atop the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings.
In Saturday's 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic, the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth and Richard Heistand crossed the finish line first in the GT Daytona (GTD) class to score their second consecutive victory in the new-for-2019 championship.
The WeatherTech Sprint Cup - contested solely by GTD teams - encompasses the class' seven races that are two hours and 40 minutes or less in length.
After Heistand qualified the car in fourth and held steady in the top five, Hawksworth got behind the wheel and closed in on Patrick Long in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R. Long, who inherited the lead from substitute teammate and polesitter Zacharie Robichon, gave way as Hawksworth ducked inside the Porsche to steal the lead with 51 minutes remaining.
Although Long was able to keep Hawksworth in his sights, the No. 14 Lexus did not relinquish the lead for the remainder of the race.
"We got a bit of a streak going, don't we?" said Hawksworth. "It was a good race. We did good job qualifying yesterday and were able to have a good stint and put it in the top five. We had a really good pit stop. To be honest, we knew it would come down to that stop because the GTD class was a lot shorter than normal, in terms that we normally have 40 seconds to fuel between driver change, fuel, and tire change. We knew the driver change would be important, and it went well. We ended up coming out in third and I minded my way."
While it was a victory celebration for AIM Vasser Sullivan's No. 14 Lexus, the team's second entry of Frankie Montecalvo and Townsend Bell in the No. 12 earned a podium finish of its own to stand next to their teammates with a third-place finish. Sandwiched between the two Lexus RC Fs were Long and Robichon for a runner-up finish.
"Fundamentally, racing is about getting the basics right," said Hawksworth. "This team is what we're really focusing on. The race pace needs to be good. Pit stops need to be good. We've got a really good silver driver in Richard and a great package in pit lane. And when you put that all together, it's a testament to what the team is doing and that's how you end up winning races."
With wins in the first two races of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup - the first being at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course four weeks ago - Hawksworth and Heistand now have opened up a 10-point lead, 70-60, in the standings over Long.
It's a tie for third place with Montecalvo and Bell, along with the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 drivers Bryan Sellers and Ryan Hardwick, with 56 points. Hardwick and Sellers finished fifth on Saturday behind another Lamborghini, the No. 44 for Magnus Racing and drivers Andy Lally and John Potter.
A television re-air of the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic is set for Tuesday, June 4 at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN, while the third round of the WeatherTech Sprint Cup will take place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 5 - 7 as part of the Mobil 1 Sports Car Grand Prix.
The week prior, the full-field IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, including the entire GTD field, reunites for the sixth round of the 2019 season and third round of the Michelin Endurance Cup at Watkins Glen International for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, on June 27 - 30. The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will be shown from 7-10 p.m. EDT on Sunday, June 30 on NBCSN on a delayed basis. The entire race can be streamed live with flag-to-flag coverage on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com beginning at 9:30 a.m. EDT. Tickets are available at www.TheGlen.com.
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