Grand Am Prototypes - Gurney And Fogarty Score First Montreal 200 Win
MONTREAL, August 20, 2011: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, turned Friday’s record-extending fourth pole position at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve into the their first victory in the Montreal 200 on Saturday for the team’s second win of the 2011 season in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley and their 15th career triumph in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype division.
GAINSCO’s drivers led a race-high 45 of the timed two-hour sprint’s 73 laps, and took a lead they would hold until the checkered flag after the No. 99’s first of two pit stops just before the 45-minute mark. Gurney took over for starting driver Fogarty and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing crew executed a perfect pit stop that got the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” back on track in front of the field.
“A great day for our entire GAINSCO team,” said Gurney, who also won with GAINSCO and Fogarty at Laguna Seca in July. “We have been trying really hard to win here for the last five years, we led a lot and had really good cars, and had been kind of disappointed that we never finished the deal. I didn’t have too many incidents, had good runs through traffic in general, and it was just a great day. We knew after Watkins Glen that we wanted to win these last two races and we’re stoked we pulled it off here.”
GAINSCO’s victory came one week after Fogarty was uninjured in an early contact incident in last Saturday night’s Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen. The GAINSCO crew had the No. 99 “Red Dragon” repaired and ready by the following evening and the car was perfect from the moment it rolled off the trailer at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. Gurney topped Thursday’s opening practice while Fogarty won his fourth pole at Montreal in five attempts on Friday, preventing Ricky Taylor and SunTrust from matching his 2007 in-season record of seven consecutive poles.
“A lot was made of the pole, but ultimately today was our goal, for the victory,” Fogarty said. “Ricky got by me at the race start, I gave him room, didn’t fight too, too hard, we had contact, but it was all fair play. He just had a great start but I was comfortable to run behind him and just kind of conserve. The crew did a great job giving me a fast car, giving Alex a fast car, and putting the car back together after the last race.”
Fogarty led laps 25 and 26 when Taylor pitted from the lead and kept his foot in it the entire time.
“Once Ricky made his pit stop I was able to run a couple of real good, quick laps,” Fogarty said. “That made the difference in getting out ahead of them and our crew did a great job all day. They just made good calls the entire race, just a great team effort for the GAINSCO guys. I feel good about it, especially after what happened at The Glen. The turning point for sure was getting out ahead of them in the pits.”
Gurney avoided any major issues on the track but that was far from the case inside the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley. The fresh-air cooling hose that attaches to his helmet malfunctioned during the driver change.
“It ripped out when Jon got out of the car,” Gurney said. “They fixed it with some tape on my second stop, which lasted for about two laps, so definitely one of the harder races for me. That air does a surprising amount, it doesn’t feel like it when you have it on, but when you don’t have it on your really hurting. So I was definitely not feeling very well.”
The race’s only caution period just 15 minutes from the finish gave Gurney a chance too cool down as he circulated during the yellow with the No. 99’s driver’s side door cracked open for ventilation. He was able to keep Max Angelelli, who had taken over for Taylor, in check on the restart and crossed the finish line 1.932 seconds ahead of the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara.
“I think that last restart was probably a good thing,” Gurney said. “I was able to cool down a little, and I knew our car was really good on restarts. Things worked out for us today.”