AUSTIN, Texas – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing scored one for the home team Friday in qualifying for the first ever sports car race at the Circuit of The America’s when driver Jon Fogarty won the pole in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype for tomorrow’s GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL.
Fogarty, who teams with fellow lead driver Alex Gurney in the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” Corvette, established the Daytona Prototype track record on the new 3.4-mile Austin circuit with a top lap time of 2:00.179 (101.848 mph).
He also extended his GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series leading pole record to 24 career top-qualifying efforts.
Team lead sponsor GAINSCO Auto Insurance is headquartered in Dallas while GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing is based in nearby Lewisville, Texas in the greater Dallas area.
“I am just happy for GAINSCO Auto Insurance and the whole GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team,” Fogarty said.
“It is kind of a big weekend for us. GAINSCO and the team are based in Dallas so this is kind of a home race.
We always try to be the quickest, be the best, but being able to do that here in Texas and at a new track is great.”
Fogarty turned the pole-winning run on his sixth and final lap of the timed 15-minute session but really only had three realistic chances at a pole-winning “flyer.”
Unseasonably cool weather in the 60s, and some afternoon cloud cover, required most teams to run several laps before for the series-standard Continental Tires were fully up to temperature.
“We thought we were going to get out at the front of the field and that was going to give us ample time to get temps and pressures in our tires but I very quickly found myself kind of mired in with a bunch of other cars,” Fogarty said.
“So I had to run like two early laps at a slow pace to find some clear running. It wasn’t until my last lap, and I don’t think the tires were all the way up even at that point, but they were close enough, just enough to get the pole. It was a close one for sure. It is always a challenge but this was definitely one of the more difficult ones.”
Fogarty will start tomorrow’s GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL and will hand off to race-finishing driver Gurney at some point in the 2-3/4 hour sprint race.
“Definitely a great day for everyone on the GAINSCO team,” Gurney said. “Jon was excellent in qualifying. Tricky conditions out there, we saw a lot of guys struggling, sliding around a lot and it was quite cool at the end there.
Difficult to get the tires up but Jon did a lap when he needed it so it is great. We are starting up front at our home event.”
While GAINSCO got the job done Friday with the No. 99 BobStallingsCars.com “Red Dragon,” it is likely no single team has the new Circuit of The Americas layout completely figured out after just two days of on-track action.
“I think everybody is still exploring setups and aero configurations that are good for ultimate lap time,” Fogarty said. “So I expect to see a very exciting race. I really have no predictions.
I feel as if our car has been strong in every session, not necessarily the strongest in any one section of the track, and it is really kind of anybody’s bet… other than the fact that we are going to win!”