Birmingham: Bob Stallings Racing qualifying report

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty Win Second Pole of 2009 Saturday in Qualifying for Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union TEAM RECOVERS FROM PRACTICE INCIDENT TO TAKE THIRD POLE AT BARBER PARK TIN HREE YEARS BIRMINGHAM, Ala.

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty Win Second Pole of 2009 Saturday in Qualifying for Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union

TEAM RECOVERS FROM PRACTICE INCIDENT TO TAKE THIRD POLE AT BARBER PARK TIN HREE YEARS

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Jon Fogarty and co-driver Alex Gurney shook off a morning practice accident Saturday to put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley on the pole for tomorrow's Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union 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.

The pole was the second of the season for GAINSCO and Fogarty who repeatedly improved his pole-winning times before finally locking down the top spot with a lap of 1:21.057 (102.150 mph) on his ninth tour around the 2.3-mile Barber Park road course. The pole was also GAINSCO's second in the last three races after Fogarty qualified first in similar convincing fashion in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June. Fogarty also won the pole at Barber with GAINSCO in 2007 while Gurney gave GAINSCO its first ever pole in just the team's third race at Barber in 2005.

"Starting up front is always great," Fogarty said. "It has been proven time and again in this series that the pole is not necessarily the key to winning a race, but I think we are just happy that we have a very quick car. The ultimate goal in racing is to try to create the fastest machine, and the GAINSCO team has done that."

GAINSCO has been on pace all weekend at Barber and skirted disaster this morning when an alternator problem sapped the power from the electric power-steering assist while Gurney was turning some fast laps in practice.

"We had an alternator failure so the battery was running low and eventually the power steering gave out," said Gurney, who was second fastest in Friday's opening practice. "It actually gave out in the worst possible place, in Turn 13, but it hit pretty soft and it didn't do too much damage, so that was good. The GAINSCO guys did a great job and got the car back together, Jon did a great job and things are looking pretty good for the race."

Fogarty had no apprehension in the repaired No. 99 and quickly got up to speed in qualifying. He first took the provisional pole on his second qualifying lap and then improved his time in each of the following two laps. Memo Rojas then briefly held the pole in the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley but Fogarty answered the call with another top time on Lap 6 before sealing the deal with the final fastest time of the session on Lap 9.

"The GAINSCO crew put the car back together flawlessly and I had a lot of confidence going out there," Fogarty said. "Between myself, my teammate Alex and our engineers we were able to come up with a good package."

Among the first to check on GAINSCO after the morning incident was Barber Motorsports Park owner George Barber, who offered the use of his nearby shop at the Barber Motorsports Museum for the repair job. Although GAINSCO was able to repair the No. 99 in the paddock, the offer was greatly appreciated and not unexpected.

"Mr. Barber is a friend of my family and just a great guy who has a real attention to detail on everything," Gurney said. "He really has a strong desire to make these weekends go super smooth. It's nice to be at a race track like this and see the guy in charge really be hands on."

A twist this weekend will be that lack of a final practice warm up session before tomorrow's race.

"It's a long time from right now until we race tomorrow afternoon," Fogarty said. "I don't expect a whole lot of changes in the conditions but it will be interesting, for sure. Without a warm up there's a lot teams that are going to try some things for the race. It might go there way and it might not. It' should make for an exciting race."

Weather conditions in Birmingham so far this weekend have been ideal with temperatures only in the low 80s and minimal humidity. Despite the unexpected break in the weather, Fogarty and Gurney still know it will be hot as usual inside the No. 99 GAINSCO machine.

"It is always hot in the car but this is great weather," Fogarty said. "This is better than we deal with at a lot of other circuits and I think it might have even been hotter in Monterey in California this year. It cooks in the car no matter what but luckily there is relatively low humidity and that allows your body to evaporate some of the perspiration. We are really fortunate to have the great weather but I guarantee you it is still going to be hot though."

-credit: bsr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Memo Rojas , Bob Stallings
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing