GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing knocked-out of race battling for the win in Sunday's Global Barter 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Likely podium finish ends in contact incident for No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon”
MILLVILLE, N.J. (May 13, 2012) — GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, saw what appeared to be a certain podium finish in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype end with a heavy hit and a cloud of dust Sunday less than an hour from the finish of the Global Barter 250 presented by Susan G. Komen for the Cure at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Gurney was running second at the time and battling in a tight pack of cars that included the leading No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP of Max Angelelli and the third-place No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley of Scott Pruett.
“It was an obviously extremely disappointing end result,” Gurney said. “The car was quite good, it was coming to us at the end of those stints, and I felt like eventually I was going to get Max. He drove me down to the grass on the front straight, pushed me out in the dirt in another spot, and it is tough to get by someone when they do that kind of thing.”
While Gurney had his hands full with eventual race winner Angelelli, a contact incident from behind with Pruett ultimately ended the day for both GAINSCO and the TELMEX/Chip Ganassi entry.
“I went back and forth with Pruett a few times, I was definitely having a good race, and I don’t understand how he could misjudge it that bad in that last corner, someone with that experience,” said Gurney, who was uninjured in the incident. “It just seemed like a take-out move. It’s really disappointing, the points are not so good now, so we have just got to focus on winning races.”
While Pruett was eliminated on the spot, Gurney refired the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” and drove back to the pits. The GAINSCO crew quickly went to work on the damaged car but, after Gurney drove a few more exploratory laps, soon realized the No. 99 was done for the day.
Fogarty, who had a minor brush with Pruett’s co-driver Memo Rojas at the race start and another incident with the No. 01 later in his stint, ran just as competitively as Gurney at the beginning of the race.
“It was wild and kind of crazy but it was fun, and while we were out there it was fun while it lasted,” Fogarty said. “Looking at the ‘Red Dragon’ here, she is real beat up. We had great pace, so that was a positive, but beyond that there was not much to get excited about after how the day ended. I am not happy about the finishing position, but I am not looking at blame, today was just a rough race. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don’t. Obviously, it wasn’t Pruett’s intention to take us completely out of the race, or himself of course. I think he was just trying to be aggressive in getting by, and just that little bit of aggression didn’t end well for either of us.”
Today’s DNF (Did Not Finish) was the first for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at New Jersey Motorsports Park and second in a row this season after being sidelined with mechanical issues in last month’s Grand Prix of Miami. GAINSCO won at NJMP in 2010 and finished third in last year’s race.
Next up for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the inaugural Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle in Detroit, June 1 – 2. That weekend’s featured two-hour sprint race can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, June 3, at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT.
“Qualifying will be really important there,” Gurney said. “We learned some things this weekend about how to make the tires last for a full stint and that should help at all of the races in the future. Today’s race was coming to us, I seemed to have a little something for them, but it ended up being a complete disappointment.”