All-American legacy lives on as Vasser, Moran, Jr. join GAINSCO Auto Insurance team at the Rolex 24 at Daytona
DALLAS - GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing's assault on the crown jewel of American sports car racing will be powered by four American open-wheelers hungry for a title, as 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser and Toyota Atlantic standout Rocky Moran, Jr. will join regular-season drivers Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley at the 2006 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Jan. 26-29.
Vasser needs no introduction to road-racing fans, as his championship success in the Champ Car World Series is legendary - nine poles, 10 victories and 33 podiums in 231 career starts. The open-wheel veteran is no stranger to the high banks of Daytona, either, as he helped the Comptech team take the 1992 IMSA Lights class victory at the 24 Hours, and finished third in 1999 piloting a Ferrari 333SP.
"The 24 Hours of Daytona is a great race with a lot of history and to compete in it with GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing is a great opportunity for me,"
Vasser said. "I am proud to be a part of the All-American lineup with talented young drivers like Alex and Rocky. I grew up in admiration of the success of both of their fathers. It will be exciting to race with them, and Bob as well, who proved in his rookie year last season that he's got what it takes."
Moran, Jr. is a young gun with two Toyota Atlantic victories under his belt, and a deep-rooted connection to Dan Gurney and the All-American Racers. His father, Rocky Moran, raced for Gurney's team throughout the 1980s and 1990s and helped propel the Gurney Eagle into Victory Lane at the 1993 running of the 24 Hours of Daytona.
"This is an an awesome opportunity for myself and the entire GAINSCO Auto Insurance team," Moran, Jr. said. "Bob has put together a talented lineup with a strong legacy of success, and I'm thrilled to be a part of it."
Gurney is very cognizant of that same history and, after his strong rookie performances in the 2005 Rolex Series, is hungry to turn the team's very first endurance race into the team's very first Rolex Series victory. "I am so excited about the 24 Hour, I can hardly stand it! What a great way to start the racing season! In a sense, we are almost all rookies when it comes to the 24 but I am very confident in this team we've assembled," Alex said. "This is a group of very quick guys who all tend to stay out of trouble. We believe this is exactly what you need to do well in this race. We showed a lot of speed and promise last year but now we are very ready to get to the top step of the podium. I can't wait to get back behind the wheel of the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Riley!"
For his part, Stallings is enthusiastic about the potential for success as his team kicks off their second season in Rolex Series competition. "I'm truly thrilled that we've been able to assemble a great group of talented American drivers, a dedicated, motivated team back at the shop and a strong supporter in GAINSCO Auto Insurance," Stallings said.
For Vasser, the circumstances that brought him behind the wheel of the GAINSCO Pontiac Riley couldn't have been more favorable, and he's optimistic that as the sun rises over the sands of Daytona Beach on Sunday, the bright red No. 99 will have a strong bid at the checkered flag. "The team has done a fantastic job in putting together a competitive effort. They achieved a lot of success as a new team last year and, with all the hard work they've put in during the off-season, I am confident we've got as good a shot at victory as anyone," Vasser said. "It would be a great honor to represent GAINSCO Auto Insurance in Victory Lane at such a historic and prestigious race. I am excited that the team invited me to be a part of this and I am really looking forward to getting in the car, starting at the Test Days in January. I can't think of a better way to kick off 2006."
Indeed, their 2006 season will kick off Jan. 4-7 as the 2006 Rolex Series teams perform sports car racing's version of "Spring training" - the Test Days at Daytona - where Moran and Vasser will get behind the wheel of the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley to the fabled 3.56 mile road course for the first time at full speed. Fans can keep track of the action with live timing and scoring at www.Grand-Am.com and the team's Web updates at www.GAINSCOracing.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 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. With two poles, a podium and dozens of laps led in their maiden 2005 season, drivers Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney are hungry for even greater success. The team is supported by GAINSCO Auto Insurance and Wells Fargo, and proudly partners with Pontiac, Riley Technologies, BBS Wheels, Puma, and Ringers Gloves.
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 Sunbelt. The company is publicly traded on Amex under the symbol GAN. GAINSCO Auto Insurance is a fast-growing presence in the automobile insurance industry and is using the racing program to promote its "Are You Driven?" marketing theme that is intended to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.