Pruett reaches career milestone; still itching for more success

Scott Pruett (R) hasn’t lost any speed with age, with proof coming in last month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at Circuit of The Americas, which saw the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver claim pole and earn his 60th career IMSA victory. The milestone in Texas extended Pruett’s record as the most successful driver in U.S. sports car racing history.

Wes Duenkel

Scott Pruett has been around the block in the motorsports world, having achieved success in nearly every racing discipline he’s been involved with in his illustrious 30-plus-year career.

From Trans-Am to NASCAR to IndyCar and everything in between, the 55-year-old Californian is known as one of the most versatile drivers in the business.

He hasn’t lost any speed with age, though, with proof coming in last month’s TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race at Circuit of The Americas, which saw the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver claim pole and earn his 60th career IMSA victory.

The milestone in Texas extended Pruett’s record as the most successful driver in U.S. sports car racing history.

Pruett, who teams with Joey Hand in CGR’s Ford EcoBoost-powered Riley DP, still feels on the top of his game and is excited for the next challenge.

“The good Lord has blessed me with this incredible career,” he said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work for an incredible team and team owner.

“[There’s been] different teammates over the years, and Joey and I probably fit together the best of any so far. He grew up right on the other side of town, only about a half hour, 45 minutes away. It’s just been awesome.

“The whole run I’ve had, through what started in the Grand-Am Series, then the TUDOR series, and all the way through I’ve had successes, but you’re only as good as your last race and it’s been a tough year.”

Pruett and Hand have been through a rollercoaster of a season, impacted by bad luck as well as Balance of Performance changes.

While CGR’s sister Riley-Ford DP claimed victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the COTA round marked the season-long pairing’s first win of the season.

They look to make up further ground in the title race in this weekend’s season-ending Petit Le Mans, currently sitting third in Prototype championship standings and still in with a mathematical chance of the title.

“It’s been a tough season,” Pruett said. “Without a doubt, we hadn’t won a race since [COTA] last year, then with Joey coming on board, Joey got me excited as well.

“We came out with a good car the first time at Daytona and broke; we had a pretty strong car at Road America and had a mechanical issue.

“But I just can’t say enough for the Ford Performance team and Ford EcoBoost and especially the (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) team.

“Champions are champions, and you look and see what Scott Dixon did (in IndyCar) a few weeks back, winning the championship from almost 50 points back, that’s the heart of the team.

“It just resonates through the soul of everybody there. I’m proud to be part of it. I’m proud to get win No. 60. It’s just been an incredible run.”

While Saturday’s race may end up being a closing chapter for Pruett in his Prototype career, as Ford and Chip Ganassi shift focus to the all-new Ford GT for 2016, there’s no denying Pruett could be in a prime position to help lead both organizations into its future endeavor.