Former Le Mans class winner Joey Hand to make Cup debut
Veteran sports car racer Joey Hand will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut at the Charlotte Roval this weekend, driving Rick Ware Racing's Ford Mustang.
The 42-year-old has five starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (all in GTE Pro), taking the class win once in 2016 and finishing on the podium on two other occasions.
He has also enjoyed plenty of success stateside, winning overall in the 24 Hours of Daytona in 2011. He then claimed a class win in 2017.
Hand has also won twice in both the Sebring 12 Hours and the Six Hours at The Glen.
The California native has made appearances in Australian Supercars and DTM, but never before in NASCAR.
“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 Rick Ware, owner of Rick Ware Racing.
“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 calibre will serve as a good benchmark for sure.”
Hand's desire to race a NASCAR stock car has been years in the making, having pushed Ford Motor Company global director Mark Rushbrook for the chance to do so.
“I’ve been wearing Mark Rushbrook out for several years now because every time I would go to the Ford simulator, I would see that NASCAR buck in the corner and talk about wanting to get in and drive it,” said Hand.
“I was like, ‘Hey, Mark, remember my helmet is locked and loaded. If somebody gets sick, I’m on my way.’ I just wore him down, I think, but this is truly a dream come true for me.
"I’ve always wanted to compete in a NASCAR race and Sunday I’ll finally get my chance.
“This means a lot to me to be able to do this with Ford. To be part of the historic Ford GT program, and to have had developed such a great relationship with Bill and Edsel Ford, and so many other people at Ford Performance these past few years, it just seems right to be able to have a Blue Oval on my car when I make my NASCAR debut.”
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