Chevrolet Daytona 24H interview: Alex Gurney

Team Chevy Racing press release

CHEVROLET NOTES AND QUOTES – ROLEX 24-HOUR AT DAYTONA:

#99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley, Alex Gurney
#99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP: Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley, Alex Gurney

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

ALEX GURNEY – whose father, Dan, won the inaugural race here in 1962 – drove the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to the lead at approximately the one-hour mark of the 50th 24 Hours at Daytona. It was the first laps ever led by the new Corvette DP:

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON YOUR FIRST STINT: “Yeah, we’re pretty happy. At the very beginning of the race, you’re always focused on not hitting anything and making sure no one does anything crazy on the start, and was happy about that. Lost a position on the start, so was running fifth for a while. Then, was in a pretty good pace – I think second, third, fourth, fifth. Tthen (Max) Angelelli got caught up in traffic; I got around him. Then just settled in, you know, running a hard pace, but trying to be careful in traffic, too. They keep pounding that in our heads. I didn’t have any close calls. A good start for the new Corvette. Pretty happy.”

HOW MUCH WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN THIS RACE AFTER YOUR DAD DID? “Obviously, that’s the goal, for sure. That kind chance doesn’t come along very often. Fifty years is a big landmark, so I’m definitely hoping to do it. We haven’t won this race before, so it’s the perfect time to make it happen.”

SOME OF THE OTHER CORVETTES HAVE HAD SOME PROBLEMS TODAY. OBVIOUSLY, YOUR TEAM DID NOT, BUT DO YOU HAVE CONCERNS OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT 23 HOURS? “Well, I’d like to find out what happened to them. I don’t really know, actually, yet. We’re running strong, so that’s what we’re focusing on. And we really tried during all of the testing that we had – I guess we’ve done five days – with this new car, and we really tried not to worry too much about speed, and if any little thing came up, our engineer, Kyle Brannan, was on it. Just really was methodical about covering our bases, so, so far, so good.”

WITH ALL OF THE GT CARS IN THE FIELD, HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE TO GET THROUGH ALL OF THE TRAFFIC – ESPECIALLY DURING THE NIGHT? “I think it’s the most crucial factor. Forty-five GTs is just a huge GT field, and about five drivers per car, so we’re trying to get to know all of them, and when we come up on them, I’m trying to anticipate how fast is this guy going to go through this corner? That’s a little bit of a guessing game, but we have to err on the side of caution, for sure. At night you’ve got less vision, the field is kind of closed in and your periphery is pretty blind and you get a lot of lights from all different directions, especially from the infield. So, a lot of times you don’t know if there’s a car there or not, in your mirrors, or where the lights are coming from. So, probably the hardest part of the race.”

WITH ALL OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AT DAYTONA, CAN YOU COMMENT ON WHAT APPEARS TO BE THE RATHER LARGE ATTENDANCE? “No doubt. Obviously, everyone’s been saying it, and I certainly noticed it walking down the fan walk. By far the biggest field. It’s pretty awesome to see. I know how passionate Jim France is about building this series, and it seems to really be catching on and we’ve been in it for almost since the start and we feel part of it, and it’s great to see. The fans are super excited, so we’re stoked.”

HAS ANYONE FROM YOUR TEAM BEEN IN CONTACT WITH THE 10 CAR OR 5 CAR TO SEE WHAT THEIR PROBLEMS ARE? ARE TEAMS TALKING TO EACH OTHER TO WHAT EACH IS EXPERIENCING? “Yeah, a little bit. I walked straight from the car over here and one of the guys told me they had some sort of engine issue, so I don’t know, yet. I’d have to confirm that when I get out of here. They are in contact. They’re trying to focus on all of us collaborating. As much as we want to beat each, we still do collaborate.”

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series GRANDAM
Tags corvette, gurney, rolex