Action Express Kisses the Bricks

Action Express

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi get ready to kiss the bricks. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

Results: Prototype | Prototype Challenge | GT Le Mans | GT Daytona

INDIANAPOLIS - As others pitted, Joao Barbosa worried about his car in Friday’s TUDOR United SportsCar race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Did he have enough fuel to win the Brickyard Grand Prix?

“They kept saying we’re OK,’’ Barbosa said. “I was trying to save as much fuel as I could. It worked out perfectly.’’

Barbosa drove the Action Express Chevrolet to the checkered flag, sharing the victory with co-driver Christian Fittipaldi. It gave both victories at Daytona (Rolex 24) and Indy this season.

IMSA“It’s unbelievably special to win these two races,’’ Fittipaldi said.

Barbosa finished 48.964 seconds ahead of Scott Pruett, who had to pit late. He was one of a number of drivers in the Prototype class who had to stop for a splash of fuel late in the 2-hour, 45-minute race that went 108 laps.

It would have easy for Pruett to have been frustrated with his fuel situation, especially with three full-course cautions in the first 24 laps and none in the last 73 laps when he could have used one to help save fuel.

“It’s just the way things work out,’’ Pruett said. “We were in a situation where we knew where we were at on fuel. We had to run hard without tearing anything up. That’s what we did.’’

Pruett finished second with 19-year-old Sage Karam, who found out four days ago he would be filling in for an ailing Memo Rojas.

While Pruett was pleased with a podium finish after “three really poor races where we haven’t finished,’’ Barbosa and Fittipaldi are looking toward a championship. They took the points lead Friday and unofficially lead Jordan and Ricky Taylor by two points with three races to go in the class.

IMSA“I think the championship may be starting right now,’’ Fittipaldi said.

The Taylors finished fourth, placing a spot behind Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante.

In the PC Class, Jack Hawksworth and Chris Cumming partnered to win, scoring their first victory of the season. They finished ahead of RSR Racing teammates Bruno Junqueira and Duncan Ende.

Jonathan Bomarito and Kuno Wittmer combined to win the GTLM class, while Jeff Westphal and Alessandro Balzan won the GTD class. 

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