Hills of Alabama host Gurney, Fogarty as they seek fifth Rolex Series win With five races remaining, GAINSCO team knows every point counts in championship fight BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2007) -- The stars and cars of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports...
Hills of Alabama host Gurney, Fogarty as they seek fifth Rolex Series win
With five races remaining, GAINSCO team knows every point counts in championship fight
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2007) -- The stars and cars of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series are falling on Alabama's spectacular Barber Motorsports Park for Sunday's Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, where Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will hit the track in search of their fifth series win, and fourth in five races -- a result which could put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley right back in position to capture the Daytona Prototype team and driver championships.
After a pair of back-to-back roval races, Alex and Jon are thrilled to be back on a natural terrain road course -- the duo have won three of the season's five races at those traditional venues. The 2.3-mile circuit, built in a valley just outside the state's largest city, has also been the site of strong runs by the No. 99 machine. In 2005, Gurney captured his first career Rolex Series pole in his and the team's third-ever Daytona Prototype event -- an early glimpse of the team's potential. Both drivers enjoy running at Barber, and Gurney in particular is a big fan of the track.
"Barber is just an awesome racetrack in a beautiful setting, with some big elevation changes and very challenging corners," Gurney said. "There's a 120-mph chicane followed by another series of very quick corners toward the end of the lap, so it really gets your attention. We've had a very fast car there the last two years, and I'm sure Kyle Brannan and the guys will have something special for us again."
This race concludes a grueling three-weekend back-to-back-to-back stretch of Rolex Series races, dating to the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona on July 5. But there is an upside to the midsummer madness, Fogarty said.
"Three races in a row is taxing, but it does allow for a rhythm -- when you jump in the car to start the weekend, it's almost like you're just doing another practice session, which really speeds up the setup process," Fogarty said. "The rest of the crew are the ones who are truly punished by these schedules -- even though we've kept the car in one piece, our guys have been working themselves to the bone."
The chase for the 2007 Rolex Series driver and team titles is nearing a climax, and after losing five precious points to the points-leading 01 car at Iowa Speedway on Friday, both drivers know the only thing they can do is go out and put in their best performances each and every week. Consistency has never been more important for the GAINSCO team.
"With only five races left, it's crunch time for the 99," Gurney said. "We'll be doing everything we can to beat the 01 car every time out."
Fogarty agreed -- "We've got to gain as many points as we possibly can," he said.
Team owner Bob Stallings has the same idea -- to break the title fight open, the GAINSCO team needs great finishes and a little bit of luck, he said.
"We've got to finish every race strong and not give away anything," Stallings said. "While not wishing ill on anyone, if we keep the pressure up on the points leader, we'll be right there in position to capitalize on any mistakes they might make. Barber is a great track for us and I'm confident that Jon and Alex will run strong and put the GAINSCO car up front again."
Tomorrow, the No. 99 Pontiac will roll out of the garage for a pair of unofficial promoter testing sessions, at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Central time. Official timed sessions begin Friday, again with morning and afternoon sessions. On Saturday, Fogarty will attempt to take his fourth consecutive pole in Daytona Prototype qualifying at 10:25 a.m. After the grid is set, the next session will be the race -- Sunday's 109-lap, 250-mile Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, which goes green at 2 p.m. Central time.