Joey Hand: “I am all grins” after battling for Chicago Cup win

Hand, 45, has both a class victory and an overall victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race. Although an experienced road racer, NASCAR is still fairly new to him.

On Sunday, he was making just his eighth career Cup Series start. He was driving a part-time entry for RFK Racing, known as Stage 60. There was little buzz around Hand, who qualified 38th. But when rain hit the track and threw the race into complete chaos, Hand and the No. 60 team were able to capitalize in a big way.

He was already fairly high in the running order on merit alone, but chose to stay out with aging wet tires on a drying track while a majority of the field chose to pit. He actually won the second stage, and was leading in the final 20 minutes of the race.

Although he put up a valiant fight, he could not fend off the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Alex Bowman. While Bowman went on to claim victory, Hand ended up finishing fourth. It was still a massive accomplishment for the veteran sports car driver. His best Cup finish before Sunday was a 20th place finish at Sonoma Raceway in 2022. 

Joey Hand, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang

Joey Hand, RFK Racing, Ford Mustang

Photo by: Danny Hansen / NKP / Motorsport Images

“It was a great day,” said Hand post-race. “I am all grins. That was a lot of fun. It is fun when you have a car that is going forward. RFK, this Stage 60 car and this group of guys and gals was awesome. We had such a good time together. We didn’t qualify well but I told them that we were way better than that. I laid in bed last night and dreamt about driving to the front. 

“It was a lot of fun. I love those conditions where everyone has to find a different way and it isn’t set in stone what you are going to do. I have won a lot of races like that in my life. I thought there was a chance was going to win another one which was going to be huge. To run fourth, starting 38th, with this car, it was a ton of fun. 

“What can you say? We went to the front and I am happy about it.”

Hand ended up leading a total of seven laps and was the top-placing Ford driver in the finishing order. Earlier this year, RFK ran the Stage 60 entry at Sonoma with Supercars star Cam Waters, who finished 35th after getting collected in a crash. They also ran the car in the season-opening Daytona 500 with David Ragan, who finished 20th.

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