Grand Am Prototype - Gurney and Fogarty Create Home-Track Win
MONTEREY, July 10, 2011: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, scored a repeat win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday in the Continental Tire Festival of Speed Powered by Mazda for the team’s 14th career Daytona Prototype victory, first of the 2011 season and first since nearly a year ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP).
Fogarty started the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley on the outside front row for the second consecutive race and never fell out of the top three in his opening stint. Gurney took the wheel of the No. 99 just 35 minutes into the 2-3/4-hour timed race and then took the lead for good with a little over 45 minutes remaining after a quick final pit stop by the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing crew.
“We have been pushing really hard all year, and it hasn’t gone our way, but we finally got something good with the car,” Gurney said. “The speed was close and by the end of the race the car was really, really good. Luckily, we had the track position, we just fought hard, and it couldn’t be better. This is the one we wanted to win.”
Gurney kept the lead through a pair of late restarts and set the team’s fastest race lap of 1:21.408 (98.968 mph) two laps from the finish. The No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” crossed the finish line .431 of a second ahead of Scott Pruett in the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley while Max Angelelli finished third in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara. GAINSCO also beat the Pruett/Ganassi team the last time the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series raced in Laguna Seca in 2009.
“The team did a fantastic job,” Fogarty said. “As a whole, as a collective, the GAINSCO guys were on top today. We executed really all around, that’s what you have to do in GRAND-AM to win, and we did. We didn’t make any mistakes. We had a fast car too, that’s always helpful, and a lot of good calls, smart calls. We pitted early to avoid some GT traffic and we gained a couple of seconds there. After the last round of pit stops, we were in the front and Alex did a stellar job, wrung everything out of the car, set the fastest race lap and won us the race. It was just awesome.”
GAINSCO also took advantage of some rare pit stop mistakes by its Ganassi and SunTrust rivals, although the team was already in front at that point.
“For sure you have to be mistake free to win any race in this series,” Gurney said. “We really did it all today, it all came through.”
GAINSCO also came through with a major jump in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team Championship standings. After coming into the race fifth in the championship, the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley is now third with 220 points. The No. 99 trails the No. 10 SunTrust team by just 14 points while the No. 01 Ganassi squad has maintained its comfortable lead with 260 points.
Gurney is from Southern California while Fogarty grew up not far from Laguna Seca in Portola Valley.
“We were struggling earlier this season and this is a great culmination of our work,” Gurney said. “Our car came in really good at the end of the race. I spent most of my race trying to chase down Scott. Then we had our stop and they had their problem. I was really hooked up at the end of the race, and I had clear sailing at the end. This is a great place for us to win. Both being California boys, this is as good as it gets.”
Gurney and Fogarty snapped a 10-race and nearly year-old win drought dating back to the NJMP race on July 18, 2010. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty have now won at least one race a season dating back to 2007, the year they scored their first of two GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series championships. The other title came in 2009.
“It feels real good to be here in first place and now we’re going to do everything we can to stay here,” Fogarty said.