GAINSCO, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty hope to commemorate milestone with first 2012 win in No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype
MONTEREY, Calif. (September 5, 2012) – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, hope to celebrate the 99th career GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race start for the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” Daytona Prototype with the team’s first victory of the 2012 season in this weekend’s Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 7 – 9.
GAINSCO’s 99th race start in the popular No. 99 “Red Dragon” at Laguna Seca is backed up by a perfect storm of appropriate ironies and winning familiarity that the team hopes will lead them right to victory lane for the first time this season. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty are the two-time defending Laguna Seca race winners and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing began its GRAND-AM Rolex Series career at Laguna Seca with its debut race on the legendary Monterey circuit in 2005. Californians Gurney and Fogarty also consider Laguna their home and earned their first podium finish as teammates in Monterey in just their second race together in 2006. This weekend’s race is also appropriately being run on September 9, the ninth day of the ninth month – perhaps a lucky “99” – in the 2012 calendar year.
“The number 99 has become synonymous with our team so I think it is a neat little piece of history to know that this is our 99th race,” said Gurney, who has been with GAINSCO from the beginning and is the only driver to participate in every race. “I will always look back at 2005 as a great memory when we first hit the track with the Daytona Prototype. Everything was new to us but the car was so fast that day, we had a chance to win in our very first race.”
Gurney co-drove with team owner and then driver Bob Stallings in the 2005 debut at Laguna Seca, the first of 11 races the duo would run through early into the 2006 season. Stallings soon realized, however, that if his instantly competitive new team was going to reach its full potential, he would need to replace himself with a driver equal in talent to Gurney. That driver was Fogarty who joined the team in April, 2006, and joined Gurney in capturing the first of two GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Champions in their first full season together in 2007. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty earned a second championship in 2009.
“It is very appropriate to celebrate our 99th race right here at Laguna Seca,” Fogarty said. “I remember hearing how well the team did in their first race at Laguna in 2005, I had driven with, against and worked with Alex prior to 2005, and was really happy to see his success against some serious competition after having been out of a ride for some time. For me, running the 99th race in the ‘Red Dragon’ on the West coast at Laguna Seca is great in that I am from the area and it is a track I love, but really, I would be proud to be in the car no matter what the locale.”
GAINSCO Gurney and Fogarty won last year’s Continental Tire Festival from the pole and the previous race held at the track in 2009 (GRAND-AM Road Racing did not appear at Laguna Seca in 2010).
“Driving the Daytona Prototype at Laguna is about as good as it gets,” Gurney said. “Jon and I both have been racing there for so many years and I find it fascinating that there is always something more that you can learn there about that track. We had a good car there last year and it should suit our Corvette well.”
GAINSCO is in its first season with the third generation “Red Dragon,” a new No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype that has proven competitive despite some typical new-car development issues and the worst bad luck streak in team history.
“We haven’t won this year but it certainly hasn’t been for a lack of trying,” Gurney said. “The series has become so competitive that you can't let your guard down for a minute. It has forced us all to be better. We let a few slip away this year but we are very determined not to let another one pass us by. With only two races left, I think there is certainly a little more pressure to win. We've won races every year since 2007 so we don't want to lose that streak.”
GAINSCO’s best results of the year have been a trio of second-place finishes, including the most recent Rolex Series last month in Montreal. The season’s other runner-up showings came at Barber Motorsports Park in March and in June at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. Additional top five finishes included fourth at Belle Isle in Detroit in June and fifth in the NASCAR “Short Course” race at The Glen one week before Montreal.
On the downside, GAINSCO has failed to finish a career-high four races so far this season and struggled to the finish after various issues in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June.
“A win would be the ultimate way to celebrate the team’s 99th race,” Fogarty said. “Winning is what we aim to do every time we hit the track. It has been a difficult season up to this point and a win would be cause for celebration no matter what but to do it on the 99th outing where it all began would be icing on the cake.”
Source: GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing