Birmingham: Blackhawk Motorsports preview

Challenging hills of Alabama the scene for GAINSCO/Blackhawk's third outing BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The past and the present will come together this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, as Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney are set for Sunday's...

Challenging hills of Alabama the scene for GAINSCO/Blackhawk's third outing

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.- The past and the present will come together this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park, as Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney are set for Sunday's Grand-Am Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, where they'll make their third start in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley. Alex will also give the Barber Park fans a treat by taking his father Dan's historic Lotus 29 Indy car out for parade laps, courtesy of George Barber's Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum.

"It's going to be a really special experience for myself and the fans," Alex said.

As for the race, Alex is fired up by the GAINSCO team's intensive testing program conducted at the track over the past two weeks, which instilled him with a sense of confidence - and excitement.

"We were strong at Laguna Seca but Daytona was difficult for us," Gurney said. "We feel much more prepared for Barber Motorsports Park. We joined a bunch of the other teams for a testing program here a few weeks ago and we feel really excited about being able to race here. It's an amazing track, with tricky quick corner entries and big elevation changes."

Alex said the heat and humidity of the Alabama days will pose a tough physical challenge - but one they're ready to cope with as well.

"We know the heat's going to be a factor, so Bob and I have really been training hard and the crew's trying some different cooling systems, so we think we'll be OK," Gurney said.

The testing also gave Bob a taste of the challenge awaiting him.

"I was blown away by the beauty and the beast which is Barber Park," Stallings said. "It very well may be the best-looking racing venue in America, but it demands great focus, attention and driving skill if you are to go fast and it will eat you up if you don't pay attention."

With two top-tens in as many starts, both Alex and Bob are looking to build on their success regardless of the challenges the team faces in coming to grips with the course.

"Having never raced here before, we know we'll be at a slight disadvantage, but I'm hopeful that as crew chief Mark Lubin and chief engineer Kyle Brannan get to know the car better, we'll get better. Alex and I seem to enjoy technical courses, and Barber Park is nothing if not technical," Stallings said.

Practice for the Daytona Prototypes gets underway at 9:40 a.m. Central time Friday, with qualifying set for 1:15 p.m. Saturday. The field of 21 DPs and 25 GT cars will get the green flag at noon Sunday. Fans can catch all the action from the Porsche 250 live on SPEED Channel, Sunday at 1 p.m. Eastern time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Live timing for all on-track sessions is available at www.Grand-Am.com.

Blackhawk Motorsports has been committed to excellence in road racing since its formation in 2001. The team campaigns the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Owner/driver Bob Stallings has captured multiple race wins and the 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship, while co-driver Alex Gurney - the son of road racing great Dan Gurney - is an open-wheel standout making his first foray into sports car racing. The team is supported by GAINSCO Auto Insurance and Wells Fargo Private Banking, and proudly partners with Pontiac, Riley Technologies, BBS Wheels, Sparco and Ringers Gloves. For more information, visit the team's Web site at www.GAINSCORacing.com.

The primary sponsor of the No. 99 Blackhawk Motorsports Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO Auto Insurance, a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer that distributes policies through a network of independent agents across the Sun Belt. The company is publicly traded on AMEX under the symbol GAN. GAINSCO Auto Insurance is a growing company in the automobile insurance industry and is using the racing program to promote "Are You Driven?" marketing theme that is intended to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.

-bhm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Bob Stallings