Ryan Hunter-Reay won the Verizon IndyCar Series finale and added the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship finale as well.
The Andretti Autosport driver teamed with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande to win the 21st Running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta on Saturday when leader Felipe Albuquerque ran out of fuel with two turns remaining allowing van der Zande to get by.
“It was incredible,” Hunter-Reay said in victory lane. “We knew it was going to come down to the last few corners. For it to come to the second to last corner was just incredible. I was in the car in the heat of the day and we got through it all. And we were there at the end.”
It was Hunter-Reay’s first win in the 10-hour endurance race and his first win in IMSA competition. Hunter-Reay’s last win in a sports car came in 2011 when he teamed with Luis Diaz to win the P2 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Two other teams featuring Verizon IndyCar Series drivers also finished in the top five with Spencer Pigot bring home the No. 55 Mazda he shared with Jonathan Bomarito and Marino Franchitti in third and Acura Team Penske’s car, which featured Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal finished fifth. Gabby Chaves drove the championship-winning No. 31 Cadillac which finished eighth.
The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing cars of Scott Dixon and Sebastien Bourdais finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the GT Le Mans Class.
Castroneves to be honored in Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves will be inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame on November 3 at Texas Motor Speedway
Castroneves, the most dominant INDYCAR driver in Texas Motor Speedway history, owns track records for most wins (4), top 10s (15), top fives (11) and laps led (506) over the course of his record 20 career starts. He also recorded one pole position.
Two years after a dramatic finish in which he was runner-up to Sam Hornish Jr. by 0.0096 of a second – the second-closest finish in TMS history – Castroneves finally found his way into Texas Motor Speedway’s Victory Lane in October of 2004.
Starting from the pole position, Castroneves led 104 laps and survived a late charge from fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan to win the Chevy 500.
Castroneves would become a multiple winner at Texas Motor Speedway with another victory in June of 2006 and then go on to join Hornish Jr. as the only three-time winners with a triumph in June of 2009.
He would take sole possession as INDYCAR’s winningest driver at Texas Motor Speedway with his final victory in June of 2013. He dominated the Firestone 550 that year as he led 132 laps and finished nearly five seconds ahead of runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay.
Castroneves joins retired NASCAR star Carl Edwards, who was announced as an inductee last week, marking the first time since 2008 that two inductees will be honored. NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs as well as drivers Kevin Harvick and Christopher Bell, who are each favorites to win championships in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series, respectively, also will be honored at the ceremony.