Back to business: Hawksworth returns to IndyCar after Brickyard GP win
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Verizon IndyCar Series rookie driver Jack Hawksworth is hoping his victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in last Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix will help jumpstart his season when IndyCar resumes competition this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Sunday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio.
Hawksworth and Chris Cumming co-drove the No. 08 RSR Racing Chevrolet to victory in the Prototype Challenge class of the Brickyard Grand Prix. The 23-year-old driver for Bryan Herta Autosport in Verizon IndyCar was behind the wheel of the Chevrolet to take the checkered flag in the TUDOR United Sports Car Racing contest.
RSR teammate Bruno Junquiera was leading the race before Hawksworth was able to track him down and pass him in his first-ever sports car race. Hawksworth was filling in for the suspended Alex Tagliani, who ironically drove for Bryan Herta Autosport in IndyCar before he was released last season.
"I had a lot of fun in that last 45 minutes,” Hawksworth admitted. “That’s the most fun I’ve had in a race car, to be honest. I had an absolute great bout with Bruno, sliding through the traffic and what-not. I enjoyed every minute of it. I enjoyed my race day just like I enjoyed running here in IndyCar. To finally get a win here feels awesome. Big congrats to Chris, you came in first to get us over that. We had a great car like Chris said and 1-2 with Bruno.
Running up front at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not new to Hawksworth, a native of Bradford, England. He led a race-high 31 laps before finishing seventh in the May 10 Grand Prix of Indianapolis IndyCar Series race.
That gave Hawksworth confidence of finding a way to the front in the May 25 Indianapolis 500 but the rookie never could find the speed he needed at Indy and finished 20th in the 500-Mile Race.
“The Month of May was an up-and-down one for me,” Hawksworth said. “We led the majority of the Grand Prix of Indianapolis but the 500 we weren’t that strong in the race. I feel like in IndyCar at the moment we have some momentum. I got a podium (third place in the second race of the Houston doubleheader on June 29) a month ago and things are going well on that side. But it’s nice for me to do well in this race. It was a confidence booster for me heading into the final four races of the IndyCar season.”
Hawksworth has proven to be a natural on the street and road courses in IndyCar but a work in progress on the ovals. That is one reason why he is looking forward to this weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio, because the natural terrain road course suits his style.
“Mid-Ohio is probably going to be our strongest event into the last part of this season,” Hawksworth explained. “I feel confident going there and getting on the podium again.”
Hawksworth arrives at Mid-Ohio 17th in points with only four races remaining. Although last Friday’s victory was in a different car with a different team, it remains a victory and that has increased Hawksworth’s confidence level as a race driver.
“If you can drive a race car fast you can drive anything fast,” Hawksworth said. “If you can drive an IndyCar fast you can drive a sports car fast. There is more of a thinking process in IndyCar and that is where the difference comes in. The win last week at Indianapolis in the sports car feels awesome. It’s my first win of the year and it’s the latest my first win of the year has come so late in the season. I think our results in IndyCar have picked up the last month. We are doing as good a job as we can at Bryan Herta Autosport.
“It’s a match made in heaven because we don’t have the funds the bigger teams do but what we’ve had we’ve done anything and above. We’ve shown pace; we’ve led races; we’ve had podiums and to do that with a rookie is a great job.
“Although it’s not where we want to be we’ve done a lot with what we have.”
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