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      Bold pit strategy narrowly misses mark as Ford Chip Ganassi Racing finishes 4th, 6th in Long Beach

      © 2019 Wes Duenkel

      An early pit stop by Sébastien Bourdais nearly paved the way to victory for the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, but unfortunately it was not meant to be on the streets of Long Beach in 2019.

      © 2019 Wes Duenkel

      Bourdais, a one-race substitute for Joey Hand, started the No. 66 Ford GT in fourth; Ryan Briscoe started the No. 67 GT in sixth. The top three leaders opened up a gap in the opening laps, so a strategy call was made to mix things up. Bourdais brought the No. 66 in on the 22nd lap, the first of the GT Le Mans cars to pit.

      Dirk Mueller took over driving duties, and lady luck paid the team a visit when a stopped DPi car on track drew out a caution before any other GTLM cars could pit, cycling the 66 to the class lead.

      Mueller held onto the lead for much of the remainder of the race, holding off several assaults from the eventual race winner while trying to save fuel. After falling to second place, Mueller remained in striking distance of the win until he ran too low on fuel exiting Turn 8 on the final lap. He was unable to accelerate out of the corner, and a tailing competitor crashed into the back of him, putting the No. 66 in the wall to end the race in fourth.

      Briscoe and Westbrook had a fairly uneventful race up until the very end, when the No. 67 also ran out of fuel in the final lap, though not affecting the team’s sixth place finish.

      Next up, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio on May 3-5, the final domestic race for the teams before heading to Le Mans.

      Chip Ganassi Racing | Ford Performance