The inaugural sports car race at Circuit of The Americas first in the Lone Star state for GAINSCO Auto Insurance and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.
AUSTIN, Texas – Along with lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, Texas- based GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing – and title sponsor GAINSCO Auto Insurance – will run the race they have been waiting for since entering the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series more than eight years ago at this weekend’s GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL, March 1 – 2, at the Circuit of The Americas.
GAINSCO Auto Insurance, headquartered in Dallas, is the lead sponsor of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype “Red Dragon” driven by Gurney and Fogarty. The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing shop is based in Lewisville, Texas in the greater Dallas area.
GAINSCO is also the primary presenting sponsor of this weekend’s GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL and is bringing 500 corporate, VIP and agent guest to the event on race-day Saturday.
“This race in particular is really very important for us,” Gurney said. “GAINSCO, our sponsor, has been wanting a major race here in Texas ever since 2006, when they began their first full season of GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype racing. Not only has that dream finally been fulfilled, but the first Texas GRAND-AM race is being held at a truly first-class facility. So the pressure’s really on Jon and myself to win this first one for GAINSCO and the team.”
Although GAINSCO and its GRAND-AM Road Racing competitors are getting their first full run on the 3.4-mile Circuit of The Americas today in a special promoter test session, Gurney was the first driver in the Rolex Series to ever turn laps on the Austin track.
“I am very lucky to be one of the very few drivers entered in the GRAND-AM race this weekend that actually has been able to drive the track,” Gurney said. “I was here with the GAINSCO No. 99 back in October, when Circuit of the Americas held its first-lap ribbon-cutting event. So in some respects, that gives me a bit of a leg up on the other drivers.”
Having some up-front knowledge of the challenging Formula 1 caliber circuit will certainly be a help to Gurney and the team.
“It’ really a pretty complicated track, given the fact it has 20 corners to navigate, with some of them not being very straightforward,” Gurney said. “Understanding the complexity of the track, and which corners are more challenging, is pretty valuable knowledge for me to have, going into the race.”
A win for GAINSCO on its home Texas turf would be important not only for the hundreds of supporters in attendance but also for the team’s 2013 bid for a third GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Championship. The No. 99 squad recovered from early-race electrical issues to finish seventh in last month’s season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and a top result in Round 2 this weekend in Texas would likely put them back in the thick of the early-season points race.
“We would certainly like to win our third championship for the GAINSCO team this year,” said Gurney, who co-drove with Fogarty and the team to the 2007 and 2009 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype titles. “We didn’t do as well as we had hoped to do in the season-opener in Daytona. It’s always been a tough race for us, which it was again this year, but we are hopeful to get back in the chase in Austin.”
Fogarty took his first laps around Circuit of The Americas in Thursday morning’s opening test session.
“The track had more grip than I anticipated,” Fogarty said. “It seems like the running that has been done here worked, or it has not rained much or something, but the track is in pretty good shape. I anticipate we will probably even get quicker, assuming it doesn’t get much hotter, but it is a feel it as you go process. We are not 100% certain on the setup at this point, the aero balance and what ultimately is good for the race, but I am not sure anybody is.”
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing