DETROIT – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, endured a frustrating GRAND-AM Detroit 200 at Belle Isle for the second year in a row Saturday but left Motown just two points out of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championships lead despite a disappointing sixth-place race finish.
Coming into the Detroit race second in the championship and trailing the No. 01 by just seven points, GAINSCO suddenly found itself in a position to take advantage of some rare Ganassi misfortune just minutes into today’s race. Instead, the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” squad encountered its own issues during the team’s only pit stop of the race.
Fogarty was running third and part of the lead-train of cars cycling into the pits at the halfway point of the two-hour race. As the pack tightened up at the pit entrance, Fogarty and at least one other competitor moved just over the track/pit blend-in line, unaware of any issue.
Fogarty then continued to the GAINSCO pit only to slightly lock up the brakes and slide into the stall. The No. 99 ended up too close to the pit wall for the right rear tire man to make a quick change as the team persevered through the delay.
“It was a good race when there was one for use, and it was a street fight, but the fights I had out there were good and clean and the car is one piece,” Fogarty said. “I guess I made a mistake coming in the pits by trying to avoid running into the back of the 10 car and crossing over that line.
Then missing the mark a little bit coming in the pit set up a situation that put us back and it was just a missed opportunity, so we are all very disappointed about that. Just a little lapse or two here and there and it is hard to claw back from that.”
With Gurney now at the wheel and in sixth after the stop, race control officials assessed a drive-through penalty for the pit-in blend violation. Gurney rejoined the race in eighth but any shot at a strong result slipped away at Detroit for the second year in a row despite making it back to sixth at the finish.
“The positives were that we had a fast race car but it was obviously a big missed opportunity,” Gurney said. “The 01 doesn’t hand us that many points very often so we are all kind of disappointed that we finished sixth. We just had a few issues.”
Despite the Detroit disappointment, Gurney and Fogarty remain second in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championships, trailing new leaders Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli by just two points, 148 – 146.
The BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” also has 146 points in the team standings, but ranks third behind the No. 01’s 147 and Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 entry that leads with 148 points. Taylor and Angelelli won Saturday’s race in the No. 10.
“The bad news is that we had a better opportunity today than we took advantage of and that’s disappointing,” said team owner Bob Stallings. “The good news is that we came in here seven points out of first place and now we are only two points out of first place in both championships now.
So that is a big positive, still a lot of racing left to go, we have a good team, and sometimes things like this happen. We just have to stay together as a team and we have plenty of racing to go.”
Next up for GAINSCO and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is Round 6 of the 2013 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 14 – 15, one of the team’s best tracks.
“Points wise in the championship we are still in it,” Fogarty said. “Going to Mid-Ohio is good, it is a place where we have had success, and brings us just to the halfway point of the year. So, lots of racing left to do and we are just going to execute and not have any more of those issues. If we can continue producing a fast race car like we did this weekend and all year it looks good.”
GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty scored back-to-back wins at Mid-Ohio in 2007 and 2008 and led from the pole there last year in their first race at the track with the Corvette Daytona Prototype.
“We are still in great shape in the championship, we are right at the front, and Mid-Ohio was another great track for us last year,” Gurney said. “The car was superfast and there is no reason why we can’t do the same this year. We want to get another win on the board.”
Stallings won the 2004 Formula Atlantic National Championship at Mid-Ohio in that year’s SCCA Runoffs.
“We will be fine in the next race,” Stallings said. “Mid-Ohio has always been good to us, I won a championship there myself personally and our team has always done well there. In a manner of speaking, we have a home track coming up.”
Bob Stallings Racing