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RSR looks to keep momentum

RSR Racing has double motivation entering Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase At Road America.

The team is coming off its first Prototype Challenge (PC) victory in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, finishing 1-2 in the Brickyard Sports Car Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Chris Cumming and Jack Hawksworth won in the No. 08 Automax/USA.com ORECA FLM09, followed by Duncan Ende and Bruno Junqueira in the No. 09 Linospresso USA ORECA FLM09. The race came down to a battle of drivers with Indianapolis 500 experience, with Hawksworth passing Junqueira for the lead in the closing laps.

This week, RSR Racing returns to Road America, where the team won in the ALMS PC class last year with Junqueira and Ende scoring their second victory of the season. The pair also won at Lime Rock Park.

“I always love going to Elkhart Lake no matter what position I’m in,” Ende said. “Especially since Bruno and I haven’t won since last year’s race, I’m especially excited to go back. It’s my favorite race track in the U.S., and an awesome place to go. I can’t wait to get back on track there.”

Hawksworth won in his first TUDOR Championship outing – and first sports car race of any kind – at Indianapolis. He was filling in for Alex Tagliani, who was serving a one-race suspension.

Hawksworth, who finished 20th in his rookie Indy 500 outing in May, returns this weekend as Tagliani will be racing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, near his home in Montreal.

After trailing his teammate and 2002 Indy 500 pole winner for 40 laps, Hawksworth caught Junqueira in traffic with four laps remaining and made the pass for the victory.

“It’s really tough losing like that,” Ende said. “It’s bittersweet, because you’re thrilled for the team, and normally Bruno and I would have been thrilled, especially coming after two really bad races at Kansas and Watkins Glen. But second place is totally different when you fall back into it and watching it slip through your fingers, no matter who you finish second to. Even if it’s losing to your buddies and teammates, it still isn’t great – although the team really needed it. If anyone’s had a tougher season than Bruno and I, it’s the guys in the No. 08 car.”

With four races remaining in the season, Ende is couching his optimism.

“I hope we’ve turned it around, but right now, our ‘hot streak’ is one race long, and that doesn’t make a trend yet,” he said. “CORE autosport is still the team to beat, and 8Star has a killer lineup. We’d like to have it all turned around and bring home the big hardware every weekend; we’re not feeling overconfident yet. We’ve got to earn it every weekend.”

The No. 09 car is in fourth place in the team standings with 147 points, while the No. 08 car is in sixth place with 140 points. CORE autosport leads the class with 200 points.