Birmingham: Bob Stallings Racing preview

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Heads Back to Barber Motorsports Park Looking for Repeat Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Series Win GAINSCO, GURNEY AND FOGARTY BRING A WIN AND A SECOND IN LAST TWO RACES TO ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 16, 2008) --...

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Heads Back to Barber Motorsports Park Looking for Repeat Porsche 250 Grand-Am Rolex Series Win

GAINSCO, GURNEY AND FOGARTY BRING A WIN AND A SECOND IN LAST TWO RACES TO ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 16, 2008) -- Riding a wave of momentum that has seen the reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions score a win and a second-place finish in their last two races, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will defend their 2007 victory at Barber Motorsports Park this weekend in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant on the picturesque Birmingham road course. Sunday's 109-lap/250-mile race starts at 2 p.m. local time and can be seen live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET.

The GAINSCO team scored its first win of the season last month in a come-from-behind victory in the rain in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and nearly went two-for-two one race ago in the Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona, July 3. In a finish befitting NASCAR's home track, Gurney and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley were out-horsepowered in a last lap charge to the finish where chief rival Scott Pruett's scant .081 margin of victory made GAINSCO part of the closest finish in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series history.

Despite the narrow loss, the Mid-Ohio/Daytona stretch was the best two-race run the GAINSCO team has put together all season. Now they head to the 16-turn, 2.3-mile Barber circuit, which has traditionally been one of the team's best tracks. Gurney and Fogarty led 63 of 99 laps from the pole in last year's victory and qualified and finished fourth in 2006. In 2005 at Barber, Gurney, GAINSCO and team owner and then co-driver Bob Stallings also reached their first milestone in the team's third career start.

"In 2005 it was just our team's third race and my first chance to qualify in Grand-Am, and we won the pole," Gurney said. "It was a very special moment for me. We also went one better when Bob Stallings and I nearly won the race. If not for a late race penalty, I think we would have. We saw the potential of the team right then at a very early stage."

The team led 20 laps and finished eighth in that first race. The following year, with Fogarty having taken over for Stallings as Gurney's co-driver, the team led 18 laps en route to the fourth-place showing. Last year's victory, however, was certainly GAINSCO's most memorable and strongest performance at Barber to date.

"Last year, after Jon got the pole, race day was extremely hot and I had a very long, tough battle with Colin Braun and we ended up winning," Gurney said. "It was definitely one of the highlights of the season for me."

Another highlight could come this weekend as the tight but fast Barber circuit plays to the GAINSCO team's strengths.

"Barber is awesome, a stunning facility and a circuit that suits both our car and drivers," Fogarty said. "We should be quick there once again and feel like a win is there for us to grab. Our pace has been win-worthy all year. It's just some of the other variables beyond our direct control that have kept us from showing the results we had in 2007. I don't feel as if we have been under-performing at all up to this point, but it seems as though things are going our way more often than not now."

Gurney is quick to give credit to the GAINSCO team members outside of the race car.

"This year, Chief Engineer Kyle Brannan and the whole team have continued to develop the car over the course of the season in a very positive way," Gurney said. "I am sure we will be very tough to beat come Sunday."

The numbers support the claim. In total, the GAINSCO team has led a series-high 101 laps in its three previous starts at Barber and won the pole twice in three attempts. Of the eight circuits on which the team has competed every year since joining the Rolex Series in 2005, Barber and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca are the only tracks where GAINSCO has finished inside the Top 10 in each race.

-credit: bsr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Colin Braun , Bob Stallings