Pontiac Wins Grand-Am DP Manufacturers, Team and Driver Titles, Season Wrap-up Record Year for GAINSCO and Pontiac Teams The 2007 Grand-Am season concluded with the Pontiac powered GAINSCO team taking the team and drivers championship in the ...
Pontiac Wins Grand-Am DP Manufacturers, Team and Driver Titles, Season
Record Year for GAINSCO and Pontiac Teams
The 2007 Grand-Am season concluded with the Pontiac powered GAINSCO team taking the team and drivers championship in the Daytona Prototype (DP) category. On the strength of a record setting season by GAINSCO and top performances by SunTrust and the remaining Pontiac powered teams, Pontiac was awarded the manufacturers trophy.
GAINSCO was propelled to the champions table at the banquet in Las Vegas on the strength of seven wins. The Texas team also posted a record setting 10 pole positions, with nine of those coming in succession. Another impressive statistic had the driving duo of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty starting from the front row, either on pole or from the second spot, for all fourteen rounds of the Rolex Series DP season.
"I can't point to a single thing that made our season great," Fogarty said. "It is never just one thing. We basically have a great core of guys on the team. They are intelligent and very serious competitors. The team is very trim, no fat. That makes us able to react and come up with solutions very quickly and move forward. Alex and I have very similar driving styles and the way Bob has structured things with Alex and I, there is really no inter-team competition. We are comfortable in our positions within the team and that makes our jobs a lot simple, and gets results. We are excited and concerned with the new chassis update for 2008. I think we can make what we get go as quick as anyone. We should have an advantage with our proven package going into next year. I think we have an excellent shot at repeating. We did some things this year that made it difficult on ourselves for the championship, but it worke d out in the end."
"Our secret, I think, was that we didn't really have a significant weakness in any area," Gurney said. "We had depth across the board and I think this in the end is what wins races. Jon and I have been racing against each other and have been friends since we started our careers about 10 years ago. We are both in a similar place in our lives, family wise and career wise, so we relate to each other. Most importantly, our driving styles are very similar so we end up never having to compromise the setup of the car. We expect to have continuity next year and I think we all continue to learn and get stronger as a team. I think we will be tougher in '08 and we're very much looking forward to learning the nuances of the new tires and aero."
Bob Stallings, GAINSCO team owner, is celebrating the success of his team and has an eye on the challenges facing his team and their ability to repeat in 2008.
"The single most important ingredient to our success in 2007 was the individual and collective determination of The GAINSCO Boys to be the very best possible team in Grand-Am, at every race," Stallings said. "We didn't always accomplish the mission, but we tried. It required individual commitment and responsibility from each member of the team to be the very best at their particular job when compared to the teams we were up against. It sounds simple, but most things in life are simple to describe and difficult to accomplish.
Alex and Jon were the best driver combination for several reasons. Both drivers are committed to excellence in their craft. Both drivers are highly competent in finding the limit of the car they are driving. Both drivers are sufficiently aware of vehicle dynamics to communicate to Kyle, our engineer, what the car needs in order to go faster. Finally, each driver was committed to the individual success of the other in order to accomplish our mission. In other words, they helped each other become better, selflessly. They are still competitive, but they understand that we can't be the best, without each of them being successful.
2008 will be a very challenging year because it will start off as a year of extreme uncertainty. Everyone will return with a chassis remarkably different than the one they raced last year. Can Grand-Am manage this uncertainty equitably? Every engine manufacturer will return with a different engine capability, with the possible exception of GM. Can Grand-Am manage this uncertainty equitably? The performance bar was raised by the 99 car in 2007. A couple of teams will rely on the excuse that the 99 car used voodoo or trickery to achieve victory. How else can they explain their short comings. Unfortunately for us, most of the teams we are up against next year are smart and very capable competitors. I expect more than a few of them to mount a campaign to kick our royal butts next year. Can Bob Stallings Racing manage all of this uncertainty? I believe we can. We intend to repeat."
Wayne Taylor Racing's SunTrust team finished third in the DP standings based on their two wins at Virginia International Raceway and Montreal. SunTrust drivers Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen also had one pole position on the season. The team that was assembled late in 2006 by Taylor and Angelelli were fixtures at the front of the field the entire season.
"We absolutely had the goal to win the championship this year, we were very clear on that as a team," Taylor said. "Clearly the GAINSCO guys got everything correct and won the championship. We had a lot of little things happen like the two drive-thrus at Watkins Glen that cost us points. We would have been in different position going into Miller. Also our disappointing finish at Laguna when Max went off, that was also costly. Everything has to go exactly right. The series has gotten so competitive that you cannot make any mistakes. You have to be pretty near perfect. The biggest challenge going into 2008 will be us running a new chassis. We will run the Riley at Daytona and then convert over to Dallara at Homestead. We are fortunate to have good partners with Toshiba, SunTrust and Pontiac. We will also have a permanent second driver with Max."
In GT Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins fought back in the last race of the season to finish second in the drivers standings in their No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R. The duo combined for six poles and two GT race wins, including the last race at Miller Motorsport Park. Teammates Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. logged the first win for the new GXP.R at Lime Rock Park in late May. The pair ended the season fifth in the GT point standings. Leighton Reese's Banner Racing finished second in the GT team standings. For Reese and his Banner team it was a very competitive first year running the Rolex Series full-time.
"It was an extremely tough championship," Reese said. "Some well organized teams and some manufacturer help made it a very strong GT season. My guys and my sponsors really stepped it up this year. We were able to put together three wins and six poles. We slipped up a couple of times. We had some smaller issues over the course of the season with new car blues as well as some driver issues. Total them up and we could have won the championship if we eliminated any one of those. We are looking forward to 2008 with our major sponsors coming back. Highlights for us for '07 are of course our first win for the GXP.R at Lime Rock and then Kelly and Paul adding two more at Barber and Miller. We gave it 110%, but next year it will take 120%."
"All of the Pontiac powered teams that competed had a hand in us winning the DP manufacturers title," said Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing road racing manager. "GAINSCO had an incredible year and was able to pull off the championship right down to the last couple of laps at the finale in Utah. SunTrust was once again one of the team's to beat each race. Wayne Taylor assembled a solid team and was right there in the hunt at the end as well. In GT, Banner Racing was new to running the series full time, but was able to get up to speed quickly with the new GXP.R racers and make a legitimate run at the championship. With a combined pole position total in DP and GT of 19 and total win count of 13 it was a very good year for Pontiac in Grand-Am in 2007."
. GAINSCO wins Daytona Prototype, team and drivers championship
. GAINSCO Pontiac has seven wins this season
. GAINSCO Pontiac has 10 pole positions, nine in a row
. GAINSCO Pontiac has started on pole or the front row every race
. SunTrust Pontiac driver Max Angelelli finished third in championship
. SunTrust Pontiac two wins on the season
. Pontiac won 10 DP races in 2007
. Pontiac 13 for 14 DP pole positions for the year
. Pontiac DP poles, Magnussen 1, Braun 2, Gurney 2, Fogarty 8
. Pontiac won DP manufacturers, drivers and team titles in 2007
. Tracy Krohn receives Jim Trueman Award
. Pontiac won three GT races
. Pontiac six poles in GT
. Edwards and Collins finished second in GT points
-credit: gm racing