GURNEY TURNS TOP LAP IN MORNING SESSION AS FOGARTY LEADS AFTERNOON PRACTICE IN NO. 99 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 17, 2009) -- Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing put in a strong first day of practice Friday for Sunday's Porsche...
GURNEY TURNS TOP LAP IN MORNING SESSION AS FOGARTY LEADS AFTERNOON PRACTICE IN NO. 99
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 17, 2009) -- Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing put in a strong first day of practice Friday for Sunday's Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union despite changing weather conditions through out the day at Barber Motorsports Park. Sunday's 2-3/4-hour timed sprint race on the 2.3-mile road course can be seen live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT.
Gurney was second fastest overall on the day with his morning session lap of 1:20.860 (102.399 mph) while Fogarty lapped at 1:21.827 (101.189 mp) in a slower afternoon practice that was run in much hotter conditions. This morning's conditions were uncharacteristically cool with minimal humidity but typical Alabama summer heat returned by afternoon practice.
"We rolled off the truck pretty quick," said Gurney, who led morning practice for the majority of the session. "We expected to be good here. There was quite a bit of change in conditions from morning to this afternoon. It was hotter this afternoon, so the quicker times were in the morning session. It's going to be a hard race. The usual suspects, I think, we will have to beat."
GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty won the 2007 Porsche 250, one of a record seven wins in a championship season that saw the team capture both the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships. They are locked in another title fight as the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Series returns to Barber, just three points behind championship leaders Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and just two points shy of the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara and drivers Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle. The competition has rarely been closer in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series history or in the Porsche 250 at Barber.
"It is very close and only a few 100ths of a second separate the top two or three," said Fogarty, who will qualify the No. 99 on Saturday. "We have been fortunate with the weather and have been able to run through numerous changes with the car. We're kind of hovering around what we think might work but, like Alex said, the change in weather conditions from this morning to this afternoon threw a bit of a twist at us."
GAINSCO won two of 2009's first four races with convincing performances in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in April and the Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. They have also earned top-three podium finishes in the last two races with a third in June's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio and two weeks ago in the Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona.
The Daytona race was run in searing Florida afternoon heat and humidity. Similar conditions are usually expected in Birmingham but this weekend may be a little cooler than usual.
"We'll see if the weather stabilizes for the remainder of the weekend and obviously we want to focus on the best car for the race," Fogarty said. "That's what we are going to go back and work with the engineers and try to do."