JON FOGARTY PILOTS NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE PONTIAC RILEY IN THURSDAY SESSION INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (September 4, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty were among a select group of teams and drivers participating in...
JON FOGARTY PILOTS NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE PONTIAC RILEY IN THURSDAY SESSION
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (September 4, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty were among a select group of teams and drivers participating in the first group sports car test ever run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) in the 100-year history of the famous circuit on Thursday, Sept. 3. GAINSCO was one of nine Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series teams participating in the exploratory test that included sessions on both the Grand Prix Formula 1 and MotoGP road course layouts.
The GAINSCO team, Fogarty and teammate Alex Gurney -- who did not test at Indy -- all began racing in entry-level open-wheel Indy-style cars before making the championship-winning switch to sports car racing. Fogarty was even offered a full-season opportunity a few years ago to drive for Rahal-Letterman Racing on the IndyCar circuit, a ride that would have brought him to the "Brickyard" for the Indianapolis 500. Fogarty instead chose to pursue a sports car racing career and he currently joins Gurney and his GAINSCO teammates in the battle for their second Grand-Am Roles Series championships in three years. GAINSCO, Fogarty and Gurney won the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships.
"I could not be more content and satisfied with where I am at in my racing career," Fogarty said. "The missed opportunity at Indy is something I rarely think about, and I never think to myself that had I been in the seat instead of Buddy Rice that I would be an Indy 500 champ. Odds are things would have happened differently, and it was great to see an American win with Rahal."
Fogarty and the majority of the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing crew made their first visit inside the gates of the hallowed Speedway for the test, but felt right at home on the road course configurations.
"I have a road racing background and obviously am happy to be running on the road course," Fogarty said. "It's cool to be here at Indy. Judging by the number of fans we had, just here for the test, there seemed to be a lot of interest, which is great. As a driver, you want to go where people appreciate what you do, and people in Indianapolis know racing. We'd have a huge number of fans, so anything we can do to get eyeballs on what we do in the Grand-Am Rolex Series is great. The series and the racing are incredible, and if you're a racing fan, there is no way you can't love what we're doing."
GAINSCO frequently has its drivers swap testing duties during a season and Gurney pulled the team's most recent shift at Barber Motorsports Park. He sat out the Indy test but GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing owner and former team driver Bob Stallings was in attendance and drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley for a few laps at IMS.
"It's just awesome and it's just a thrill to be here," said Stallings, who only ran during the morning session. "There's so much pure racing history here. I think it would be a terrific opportunity with the Daytona Prototypes and the GTs to run here, especially if we can run with the NASCAR Sprint Cup guys and run on Friday night. I think we can end up with a pretty big crowd. I'm hoping the track can figure out a way to get the curbs in and out on Turn 1. It's a lot of fun. Coming out of the last turn from the infield, you're flat all the way into the braking zone. Cars are doing from 180 to 183 mph, which is pretty similar to Daytona. It's pretty fast."
Official times were not released by Grand-Am but teams reportedly lapped in the 1:23 to 1:24 minute range, which averaged between 103 and 109 mph on the 2.534-mile, 13-turn F1 track. The entire first session was run on that configuration while the MotoGP circuit, which is 2.621 miles and 16 turns, was used for only 15 minutes in the afternoon. Teams then switched back to the F1 course for the remainder of the test.
With two races remaining in the 2009 season, GAINSCO has a five-point championship lead in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championship standings with 274 points. They are five points ahead of Max Angelelli, Brian Frisselle and the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara and the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, who are tied for second with 269 points. Pruett and Rojas also tested at Indy.
Next up for GAINSCO and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series is a race at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 19, before the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Oct. 10. Round 11 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series from Miller can be seen live on SPEED at 5:30 p.m. ET (2:30 p.m. PT) on Saturday, Sept. 19.