Watkins Glen International
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty Finish Third in Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen No. 99 GAINSCO Team Closes Out First Half of Season with Needed Podium Result
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, closed out the first half of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season with a much-needed podium finish in Saturday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen where the team finished third in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley.
After qualifying fourth yesterday, Gurney drove both the opening and closing stints of the race, including the first 65 minutes in a steady rain shower.
“It was an interesting race for me,” Gurney said. “I was in for the first hour and a bit, and it was really difficult out there in the rain. We didn’t really change the car at all for the wet but we still ran pretty good. We were second, sometimes third, most of the time, and I was just trying to keep it on the track. It was really, really tough. We like being up on the podium but we are just in the wrong spot.”
Fogarty and Gurney kept the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” in contention for the win for the duration of the six-hour race but ultimately couldn’t match the pace of the race-winning SunTrust Dallara and the runner-up TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley.
“We are just happy to be up on the podium, it has been quite a while for the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance/BobStallingsCars.com car,” Fogarty said. “Happy to be up here, pretty straight forward race, we had good stops and a strategy that was certainly reasonable. Alex did a great job in those early conditions to keep the car in one piece, it was definitely treacherous out there. I got in, had quite a long stint in the middle, and was pretty pleased with the car. At the same time, it was frustrating because I was pleased with the car but was watching the 10 car walk away. I just don’t know how we can make this better, but we will try, we are going to keep working at it.”
The rain was gone after the first two hours of the race and Gurney worked his way to the lead for nine laps during his second driving shift.
“When I got back in, the car was still in good shape and running well,” Gurney said. “We were slightly off sequence with these other guys as far as tires and fuel, but we think we got the most out of it. At one point we had the lead but it ended up we were on older tires, and the 10 had the pace on us by a long shot. We definitely have some work to do, and same thing to the 01. Tough day for us but as good as we can do, I think.”
Fogarty also led a single lap during a flurry of pit stops right at the end of his stint.
“At the end there we opted to take only fuel when the others did tires and fuel,” Fogarty said. “It got us into the lead for a little while but having slightly older tires at the time was not the ticket. We fell back and all in all we finished probably where we should have, third-best car pace wise, and that’s where we ended up after six hours.”
The Glen result has moved the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley team into a tie for fifth place in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team Championship standings with 153 points.