No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette “Red Dragon” continues qualifying hot streak; Gurney, Fogarty and GAINSCO look for third-career track victory
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (April 5, 2013) – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing won its second-straight GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series pole position – a Daytona Prototype record-extending 25th top qualifying effort for driver Jon Fogarty – Friday at Barber Motorsports Park for the team’s fourth career pole and sixth front-row qualifying effort on the scenic 2.3-mile road course.
GAINSCO won the 2007 and 2009 races at Barber Motorsports Park as well as the most recent race on the schedule in last month’s GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL at the new Circuit of The Americas (COTA) course in Austin, Texas. Fogarty and GAINSCO also won the pole for that race.
“Obviously, stoking the fire with the COTA win was great for the team,” Fogarty said. “It just helps. We vaulted up there in the points and we want to make the most of our position and try to move forward from the last race. We’re going one inch at a time, but we’d love to have a win here again or sure.”
Friday’s pole was the third for Fogarty at Barber, along with top qualifying efforts in 2007 and 2009, and Gurney gave GAINSCO its first pole at Barber in 2005 in just the team’s third-career race start. Fogarty also started on the outside front row at Barber the last two years.
“We’ve kind of done our homework and we feel like we’ve come to a setup that works around here,” Fogarty said. “It’s a pretty unique track and we found some pace relative to the last couple years.”
Fogarty swapped the pole repeatedly with fellow Corvette Daytona Prototype drivers and brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor in the competitive 15-minute qualifying session. All three clocked in under Ricky Taylor’s 2010 Daytona Prototype track record lap but Fogarty and GAINSCO stopped him from winning a third-straight pole at Barber for the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona team.
Fogarty locked down the pole for the third and final time of the session with a flyer on his ninth and last lap to set the new track record of 1:18.949 (104.878 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon.”
“I knew relatively where I was in the order at that point,” Fogarty said. “I knew it was tight up front. My times started falling off and the engineer informed me that we overshot our target tire pressures, so I cooled it down, found a good gap, and just absolutely went for it on that last lap. It was enough, I am really pleased, and it was just great.”
Gurney didn’t get any laps in the BobStallingsCar.com No. 99 on Friday but will fill his usual “closer” role in tomorrow’s race when he takes over from starting driver Fogarty. He never flinched when he was pressured to the finish in last month’s victory in Texas. Gurney and the team have been feeling the positive energy of that race win ever since and straight through today’s record qualifying run.
“It’s a great vibe right now,” Gurney said. “Jon, our Engineer John Ward and I, we are all working really well together and I just like the way it is all coming together for the team. Jon did an awesome job in qualifying as usual and we are in a great position for the race. We always run strong here in the race so I think we can be confident.”
With no pre-race final practice scheduled, qualifying was the final on-track session before tomorrow’s featured Porsche 250 at 12:45 p.m. CDT.
“I didn’t drive today, no warm-up either, but it is the same tight schedule for everybody,” Gurney said. “It’s alright, we have been coming here for a long time, we will be good.”
Bob Stallings Racing