GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty set one GRAND-AM Rolex Series record and extend another with fourth-straight Montreal 200 pole
Fogarty’s fifth pole in six years at Montreal in No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” extends all-time top qualifying record to 23
MONTREAL, Quebec, Canada (August 17, 2012) – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing driver Jon Fogarty set one new qualifying record and added to another Friday at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with his fourth-consecutive Montreal 200 pole that extended his lead as the all-time Daytona Prototype career pole winner to 23.
GAINSCO, Fogarty and co-driver Alex Gurney are the defending Montreal 200 winners and hope to build Friday’s record-setting qualifying day into a repeat race win tomorrow in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype. A victory Saturday would be the team’s first of the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season and first since Montreal last year.
Fogarty got to work early in the 15-minute qualifying session with a Lap 2 time of 1:33.485 that put the GAINSCO/BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 on the top of the charts. He improved one lap later to 1:33.140 and locked the pole down for good with his final flyer on Lap 8 that clocked in at 1:33.135 (104.713 mph).
Fogarty is the first driver to win four consecutive poles on an active GRAND-AM Rolex Series track and now has five top qualifying efforts in the last six years at Montreal after also taking the pole for the inaugural race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007. GAINSCO and Fogarty also have poles this year at Detroit Belle Isle, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and in the inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I am just fortunate to be able to drive race cars for a living,” Fogarty said. “Being able to qualify a race car is a pretty special thing. I would like to do it as many times as possible, but even then it won’t be enough. Every time I get the opportunity I just want to absolutely make the most of it. It’s a team effort, that’s for sure, but at the same time it’s a team effort for every other team out there as well.”
Gurney, who owns five career pole positions himself with GAINSCO, will take over from starting driver Fogarty in tomorrow’s race and drive the No. 99 “Red Dragon” to the finish.
“We knew from the practice sessions and from years past that we were pretty hooked up around here,” Gurney said. “It ended up a little closer than we would have liked, less than a tenth in front, so it should be a very close race. It should be a real tight battle right from the start. We set the car up as fast as we know how to do it and we will see what happens.”
Team owner Bob Stallings had big praise for both of his champion drivers on Friday.
“The GAINSCO/BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 car did it again but we have a tendency to sort of take for granted how good Jon Fogarty is,” Stallings said. “Jon had his 23rd pole today and no one is even close to that, he is just a guy who puts his head down and he makes it happen. The guy is just extremely good, and we are so lucky that we have Alex and Jon because both are champions, both of those guys are fast, and anybody would love to have both of them in their car. Jon is the guy who starts with us, and doesn’t mind starting and letting Alex finish, but 23 poles is pretty exciting.”
After fighting for the right to start up front in qualifying, Fogarty plans to keep the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” there from the drop of the green flag.
“I think it’s important to stay up front,” Fogarty said. “There are cars that have good pace throughout the field, so we just want to have a clean start and pound out some laps. Between pit stops, you just want to stay up front, stay clean, and if we can run unencumbered, we have a car that is capable of maintaining a winning pace. If we get mired in the back of the field, it is going to be very difficult, I think, to move forward. Starting up front is great, the crew did a great job today, gave me a car capable of the pole and I just squeaked it out. Happy to be starting on the pole and that is certainly the right place to be if we want to win this thing.”
A victory tomorrow would be GAINSCO’s first in what has been a challenging season to date that has produced only a pair of second-place finishes and four total top-five showings.
“It is very important to get a win before the season ends,” Gurney said. “We have some really good chances coming up but we really badly want to win.”
GAINSCO finally added a race win to its Montreal qualifying success last year after doing everything but win on the on the challenging 2.709-mile, 15-turn road course on Montreal’s Ile Notre Dame the last five years. The team finished second in 2010 at Montreal and third in 2007 and 2009.
Source: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing