GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Gurney, Fogarty, set for second Glen short course win and second of 2011 season
GAINSCO “Red Dragon” won on NASCAR weekend 2007, last month at Laguna Seca
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 10, 2011) — Riding a top-three podium streak that began when the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series made its first stop of the season at Watkins Glen International in June, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will shoot for their second win of 2011, and second on The Glen’s NASCAR short course, in this weekend’s Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen. The featured two-hour timed twilight sprint race can be seen live on SPEED this Saturday, August 13, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty won the 2007 GRAND-AM Rolex Series race on the ultra-fast Watkins Glen short course and most recently visited the top step of victory lane last month at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley was driven to its 14th career victory. That win has highlighted a four-race podium streak that began with a third-place showing in June’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and also includes another third one race ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park and second place at Road America in June. The GAINSCO “Red Dragon” team also finished second in April’s Barber Motorsports Park race.
The short course is a different beast...
GAINSCO has made huge gains in its performance since testing mid-season at The Glen two days after the Sahlen’s, although a recent change in series tire specifications has introduced a slight unknown in the return to the track for the Canadian Tire 200.
“I’m very happy to get back to The Glen where we’ve had so many exciting races and good results,” Gurney said. “The test we had there mid-year will certainly help, although with the recent change to the front Continental tire, things will be a little different setup-wise. A little bit of a guessing game for all the teams, but I think we will have a competitive car.”
One of the biggest positives from The Glen test has been GAINSCO’s improved pre-weekend setup that has seen the No. 99 on pace right at the beginning of every recent race.
“I think the car has been closer to what we need when we roll off the truck,” Fogarty said. “This allows us to start fine tuning right from the start instead of having to make large changes, which is not what you want to be doing on a race weekend. This should be the case at The Glen as well and maybe we will be a little closer to the ideal setup from the get-go. The short course is a different beast and it is later in the year with different rubber from the NASCAR guys. So, a lot will be different, but our package is strong and seems to work better everywhere. I am confident we will be in a good position come race time.”
The Glen marks the only time this year that the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series will share the weekend card with both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Nationwide Series, although, like the recent Road America race, next weekend’s event in Montreal is also a co-headliner with Nationwide.
The back-to-back Watkins Glen and Montreal races, and next month’s season-ending event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, are the final races on the 2011 schedule. The first order of business for GAINSCO, however, will be Saturday in the relatively short two-hour sprint on the quick 2.45-mile Glen short course.
“The thing that sticks out on the short course is that there really are no slow corners,” Gurney said. “Everything is fast, the chicane is always tricky to get through cleanly, and if it rains it can be extremely slick. A 134-mph average for a qualifying lap tells the story; this place is quick! You definitely feel mentally drained after this one as the speed really demands your utmost concentration.”
GAINSCO came close to victory three weeks ago in New Jersey where Fogarty and Gurney both led, and the No. 99 had the fastest race lap with Gurney at the wheel. Everything seemed to be going GAINSCO’s way except some late-race breaks that worked out for the competition.
“At the time, New Jersey was a big let-down as we had the car to win, but looking back at it, it was just not our day,” Fogarty said. “The competition between us, the 10 and 01 is so tight that the race could have gone any way. In the end, it was luck that gave the 01 car the late-race yellow that allowed their fuel load to take them to the end. I am not sure we could have done anything differently. We had a solid strategy, but like I said, it just was not to be.”
Gurney was also quick to shake off the disappointing New Jersey race and focus on the bigger picture.
“New Jersey was a tough race and strategy-wise I think we were a little unlucky with the way the yellows fell and with traffic at the end of the race,” Gurney said. “Otherwise, we had some encouraging pace throughout the event. We’re still working on managing the tires over a full stint but we are very close now. It’s certainly nice to be fighting it out legitimately for the win on any given weekend.”
The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley team heads into this weekend’s race third in the 2011 team and driver championship standings with 250 points. GAINSCO trails the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli by 16 points while the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas lead the championships with 295 points. In addition to sweeping both Watkins Glen races in 2007, and winning that year’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championships, GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty also captured the team and driver titles in 2009.
GAINSCO finished second in The Glen short course race in 2008, fourth one year later, and earned its fourth career podium finish on the NASCAR track last year with a third-place showing. Gurney and team owner and then driver Bob Stallings earned GAINSCO’s first career top-three team finish on The Glen short course in 2005 with a second-place result. Fogarty also qualified on the pole in the No. 99 for the short course races in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
The Canadian Tire 200 two-day schedule begins Friday with practice, late-afternoon qualifying and final practice early that evening. After that, no on-track activity is scheduled until Saturday’s race at 6 p.m.