24 Hours of Le Mans Winner Making Cup Series Debut

Joey Hand

Getty Joey Hand's No. 66 Ford GT races at Laguna Seca in 2018.

A racing veteran with wins in some of the biggest events is about to take on NASCAR. Joey Hand will join forces with Rick Ware Racing for the Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 10.

The 42-year-old has locked up wins in several high-profile events throughout his career. The list includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans (2016, GTE-Pro class), the Rolex 24 at Daytona (2011 – overall, 2017 – GT Le Mans class), and 12 Hours of Sebring (2011 and 2012 – GT class). Now he will take on the Charlotte Roval, a 2.28-mile road course located at Charlotte Motor Speedway while driving the No. 52 Ford Mustang with support from boom! Mobile.

“I come from a road racing background and have followed Joey’s career forever, so it’s very exciting to be able to have another driver make their Cup Series debut with RWR, especially with someone of his stature,” said team owner Rick Ware in a press release, per NBC Sports. “This is a good chance for us to see where our program is at when it comes to road courses, and having someone of Joey’s caliber will serve as a good benchmark for sure.”

The Bank of America Roval 400 will take place on Sunday, October 10, at 2 p.m. ET. NBC will provide coverage as Hand makes his NASCAR debut and covers 109 laps on the road course.

Hand Continues a Season-Long Trend of New Drivers Joining RWR

Joey Hand

GettyJoey Hand (right) poses with co-driver Scott Pruett in 2015.

RWR, a team that fields four cars in the Cup Series, has provided opportunities for multiple drivers to test out NASCAR during the 2021 season. The list includes USAC star Chris Windom, who took on the Bristol dirt race in the No. 15 Chevrolet. Sports car driver Ryan Eversley joined the team for a trip to Road America on July 4 while open-wheel driver RC Enerson took on the Watkins Glen road course.

As someone with a considerable amount of experience on road courses, Hand will have the opportunity to make some moves early in the race. He will fight for position while embracing a type of racing that has always interested him.

Hand explained in the press release that he likes NASCAR’s style of “fender-banging” racing because “I almost thrive in situations where I’ve got a little damage and the car shouldn’t be fast, but you find a way to drive around it.

“I’ve always felt that’s the way NASCAR was because if a fender gets damaged, they tape it up and keep going. It’s like a fight to the death and that’s my style. That’s what has always attracted me to NASCAR.”

Hand Will Help RWR Makes Plans for Future Improvement

As one of the smaller teams in NASCAR, RWR does not draw the same level of attention as Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, or Team Penske. The organization doesn’t have the same level of equipment or funding. However, owner Rick Ware has plans to make major strides in 2022, and Hand will provide crucial feedback, especially concerning the road course program.

Ware explained during a July 31 appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that his goal is to make major strides during the 2022 season. Simply fielding four cars at the top level will not be adequate. Ware wants to be more competitive while showcasing the Next Gen cars.

“My dream and my goal is to step everything up to the next level, both competition-wise, technology-wise,” Ware said. “You know, we got our first charter in [2019]. The whole idea and premise then was: we were going to start building cars at the end of [2019]. [2020] was when we were going to be rolling out.

“Obviously, the whole world changed,” Ware added. “It all got pushed back. We’re kind of one year behind where we thought we were going to be, but we’re trying to have two really strong cars for next year.”

READ NEXT: Roush Fenway Racing Makes Crew Chief Change

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments