ELK GROVE, Calif. — The Elk Grove City Council presented IMSA driver and Rolex 24 At Daytona and 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand with a Key to the City on Wednesday.
A ceremony and autograph session were held at Elk Grove City Hall ahead of the regularly scheduled city council meeting.
Widely considered one of the best road racers in the world, Hand, with co-drivers Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, won both the GTLM title at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2017 and the GTE Pro category at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2016. Both races are widely considered the pinnacles of 24-hour sports car endurance racing.
Hand currently drives the No. 66 Ford GT in his fourth full-time season with the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series, the highest level of North American sports car racing.
“On and off the track, Joey shows remarkable strength in character and an unparalleled commitment to professionalism,” said Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly. “Racing takes him all over the world in a career that practically gives him wings. He comes home to his roots in the Elk Grove area. We couldn’t be prouder of his accomplishments. As this key demonstrates, the door is always open to Joey at City Hall.”
Hand celebrated his 40th birthday earlier this month. He grew up in the Elk Grove area, attending James McKee Elementary School, Kerr Middle School and Elk Grove High School.
He started a karting school at the age of 17, owned a kart shop in Elk Grove and the concession of the kart track at Prairie City SVRA for four years. When he’s not on the road, Joey is at home in Wilton with his wife Natalie and their two children.
“I am so proud and honored to receive the Key to the City from a place I have called home for most of my life,” said Hand. “I’ve traveled all over the world to race and have seen many beautiful cities, but I am always so happy to get home to Elk Grove, California. I believe this city has so much to offer. It’s not the little town it was when we first moved here in the early 1980’s, but it’s still the place for me and my family.”
Elk Grove’s Key to the City program was established in 2013 as an honorary gesture of appreciation. NASCAR’s Kyle Larson received the City’s first key in 2014.