Joey Hand Makes NASCAR Cup Series Debut at Charlotte
Joey Hand, who has been with Ford Performance since 2015, is making the leap to the big dance. Hand makes his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, joining Rick Ware Racing. Let’s give him a hand.
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Team principal Rick Ware says that he’s been following Joey Hand’s career “forever,” which is quite impressive until you realize that time is not linear and is impossible to comprehend. Ware says that Hand coming aboard gives the team a chance to see how it performs on road courses and that a driver of his stature makes for a solid benchmark.
Hand, 42, kicked off his career with Ford Performance back in 2015 as a driver for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was one of the three drivers who piloted the then-new Ford GT to a GTE Pro class victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2016.
In addition to that major bona fide, Hand helped Chip Ganassi Racing to a win at the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona. Over the past four years, the team has pulled out 19 wins and nine pole positions.
With the closure of the GT program, he has been serving as a coach for other drivers as well as a product ambassador. Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director Mark Rushbrook calls Joey Hand “one of the best road racers in the world,” so it’s only appropriate that he put those skills on display for NASCAR.
Hand says that he’s been ready for the opportunity for years, pestering Rushbrook to give him a crack at NASCAR. Sunday, that persistence and badgering will pay off.
“I’ve always wanted to compete in a NASCAR race, and Sunday I’ll finally get my chance,” Hand says. “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.”
The Blue Oval will indeed adorn his car when he takes the track for the Bank of America Roval 400 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday.