Gand Am DP - Gurney, Fogarty Back To The Glen
WATKINS GLEN, Aug. 9, 2012: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, return to the site of their best 2012 race this weekend at Watkins Glen International, where the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype team will look for its first win of the season in Saturday’s Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire.
A two-hour sprint that is Round 10 of 13 races on the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 2012 schedule, the Continental Tire 200 can be seen live on SPEED this Saturday, August 11, at 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT.The Continental Tire 200 follows last month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen where Gurney and Fogarty led 55 race laps and kept the GAINSCO/BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 in contention for the win right up until the checkered flag. Gurney set the race’s overall fastest lap of 1:42.774 (119.096 mph) just seven laps from the finish in a furious attempt to catch eventual winner Joao Barbosa. Gurney drove the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” across the finish line in second place just .238 of a second behind Barbosa’s similar Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“After coming so close at The Glen in the six-hour race, we really would like to come back and seal the deal on the NASCAR Cup course,” Gurney said.
The Sahlen’s Six Hours is run on the traditional 3.4-mile Watkins Glen Grand Prix circuit but this weekend’s event takes place on the 2.45-mile NASCAR “short course” layout. GAINSCO has been equally successful on each configuration, sweeping both races from the pole in 2007 and finishing on the podium in at least one of each year’s pair of races at The Glen in four of the last five seasons. Fogarty won the pole for The Glen short course races in 2006, 2007 and 2009 while Gurney was at the wheel in qualifying for 2007’s Sahlen’s Six Hours pole effort.
“One of the trickiest things about the short course is the gearing,” Gurney said. “Because of the shape of the different corners and the speed, there is always one compromise corner on this track no matter how you slice it. We believe we've made the right decisions and should be very competitive on race day.”
The Sahlen’s Six Hours runner-up result was just GAINSCO’s second podium of 2012 and first in more than three months after a second-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park in late March. The team also finished fourth in the Chevrolet GRAND-AM Detroit 200 in early June but has otherwise been plagued with a variety of in-race issues, mechanical failures and bad luck all season. GAINSCO has not made it to the finish in four of the last seven races, including the most recent event two weeks ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the No. 99 was retired in the race’s final hour.
“Indy was tough on several levels,” Gurney said. “I've always loved the rain so it was a shame that we had a few issues that kept us from fighting at the front. We will rebound, we always have, but our time is running out for this year.”
History is on GAINSCO’s side as the team works hard for a 2012 turnaround. Although only four races remain in this year’s championship, the next three rounds are all events that GAINSCO has won at least once. In addition to the 2007 Glen NASCAR weekend win, GAINSCO also won at Montreal last year and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the last two times the Rolex Series has visited the California track.
The GRAND-AM Rolex Series heads to Montreal next weekend for the third and final two-hour sprint of the season, Saturday, August 18, at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. That race will be followed by the only event of the year west of the Mississippi River at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., September 9.
“We are definitely hitting the right tracks at the right time, or maybe just in time based on the season we have been having,” Fogarty said. “We have also traditionally closed out our racing seasons very strong and hopefully we will again this year. We should be able to as we have had competitive cars on pace all year, but the luck just hasn’t been there for us.”
The season-ending race will be held at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, Saturday, September 29.
“Racing is never easy and it never has been in the Rolex Series because it is so competitive,” Gurney said. “We just have to roll with the punches and keep coming out swinging each time. We still have a lot of confidence that we can turn this season around in these last four races.”