Joey Hand after winning home race: 'This one feels really good'
Dirk Müller and Joey Hand took their IMSA first win in more than a year in Sunday's IMSA Monterey Grand Prix, finishing ahead of the #24 BMW M8 GTE of Jesse Krohn and John Edwards to take victory at Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Müller and Hand started second behind the BMW of Krohn and Edwards, but Müller took the lead early on before handing over to Hand. Hand, who spent a part of the 2019 on the sidelines with an illness, is a Sacramento native, but had yet to win on his home track.
“I’ve been trying to win at this racetrack, my home racetrack, since like 1998,” Hand said. “That puts in perspective how this feels to me. I’ve got a lot of seconds here, I’ve been on the pole here in all different categories. I told my wife two weeks ago that 2019’s been kind of a tough year for me and I said, ‘I’m going to turn this one around, we’re going to win this one.’ That’s what we did today.
This one feels really good. It’s not Daytona, it’s not Le Mans or whatever, but I’ll tell you what, this track stands out on the calendar for everybody. It especially stands out for a California guy like me.”
Müller captured the lead from Jesse Krohn's BMW when the #24 M8 GTE momentarily spluttered coming out of the Andretti Hairpin, allowing Müller to slip into the lead of the race in GTLM.
“I’m not going to lie, that feels really great,” Mueller added. “It’s a sweet victory but it wasn’t an easy one.”
“We got in the car the first session here and it was pretty bad,” Hand added. “It was not good. And we fought our way from the worst car we ever had here to the best car we ever had here today in the race."
I knew my car was great, I could follow so closely behind (Krohn),” Mueller continued. “I don’t really know what happened but he lost momentum and I took advantage (and) got by. That was tough because you don’t expect it. That was quite a close moment.
From that moment, I think that was the milestone for the victory.”