Grand Am Prototype - No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Car Second Quickest
BIRMINGHAM, March 30, 2012: Two-time Barber Motorsports Park race winners GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, were on the pace in opening practice Thursday for this weekend’s Porsche 250 where the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype clocked in third fastest overall. The Porsche 250, the first GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series sprint race of the season, is scheduled to start at 12:15 p.m. local time this Saturday, March 31, and can been seen in same-day “virtual live” coverage on SPEED at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.
GAINSCO’s top lap of 1:22.827 (99.967 mph), which came late in the session and on relatively old tires, was the second fastest time for one of the five new Corvette Daytona Prototypes competing this weekend at Barber and all year in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series.“It was a good day but it is tough out there,” Gurney said. “This track really eats tires, and I know at least the second-place guy in practice today went to new tires, so we are right in there. It’s just a balancing act, trying to figure out how to make the car work three-quarters of the way into a stint, because the tire fall-off is going to be pretty significant.”
GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty won the Porsche 250 in 2007 and 2009, both times after Fogarty captured the pole, and earned a second-place finish in last year’s race. Gurney also gave GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing its first pole position at Barber Motorsports Park in just the team’s third career race start at Barber in 2005. Saturday’s race will be GAINSCO’s first at Barber with the all-new Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“It’s not completely different, which I guess is a good thing because historically the GAINSCO guys have had a good car here,” Fogarty said. “It just seems to be a little bit better everywhere. This is a high downforce track and the Corvette is a high downforce car. We are really pleased with the package here; it seems to suit this sort of track much more than it did Daytona. We are feeling good about the weekend so far. It looks like the weather might be questionable on Saturday but these overcast skies are good for the tires. We are pretty positive that we have a better package than what we have had in the past, and we have had good cars in the past.”
The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona was quick in January’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona but typical endurance-racing setbacks produced only a 13th-place finish despite the encouraging pace.
“We are pretty happy,” Gurney said. “We are in the ballpark and that usually that is good for us. This car makes good downforce,” Gurney said. “It is just a question of whether you can utilize it all and balance it. That’s the game that we’re playing.”
The Porsche 250 will be GAINSCO’s first race with new Lead Engineer John Ward, who brings a wealth of top-tier road racing experience to the No. 99 team.
“It’s wonderful to have John Ward onboard,” Fogarty said. “He has tons of experience across all walks of motorsports and actually a little bit here in Daytona Prototype as well. He is really easy to get along with, and we are all just getting down to business. We all show up at the track and our singular focus is to make the ‘Red Dragon’ as fast as possible. We are all on the same page there and we communicate that to each other quite easily.”