KANSAS CITY – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, were knocked down in Saturday’s night’s SFP Grand Prix but not out of the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship despite a disappointing eighth-place finish in the debut road-course race at Kansas Speedway.
“We went from seventh on the grid up to P2 to at the start,” Fogarty said. “The car was running really well and we were in a position to really make a move when some others had some trouble early.”
Gurney drove just over the final two hours of the timed 2-3/4-hour race and continued to keep the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” on pace and in top-five contention early in his run.
He was racing in the lead pack and in touch with the leaders at the race’s halfway point when he was literally knocked from contention in an opening corner of the road course section after a hit from 8Star Motorsports driver Sebastien Bourdais.
“Bourdais tried to make a pass in a place where you can’t pass,” Gurney said. “I am just surprised that a guy like that would put the car in that position. It’s not a brake zone, you don’t even brake there. You barely lift there, so I don’t know what he was thinking. It gave us a big dent at least in our championship, it’s just very disappointing.”
The BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” lost the driver’s side door in the incident after glancing off a barrier and spinning through wet grass and some trackside ground signage as the caution flag flew. Gurney managed to quickly continue on to the pits but the No. 99 ultimately went a lap down when the GAINSCO crew was forced to replace the missing door as the race returned to green.
“The car was difficult to drive at beginning of stints and got better toward the end,” Gurney said. “We would have definitely been there. The guys did a nice job changing the door, I did have a lot of vibration and maybe the toe was a little out, but otherwise it was OK.”
Fogarty witnessed the incident from the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing pit.
“It’s a spot where you can’t event overtake a GX car,” Fogarty said. “I think maybe he just had a brain melt. Unfortunately, it definitely hurt us, but we are still in it. It’s amazing, that’s the silver lining of the whole thing, and we are going to go on to Laguna, a track we are good at and put the hammer down. We are still very much in it.”
Gurney and Fogarty came to Kansas just four points out of first place in the championship and second in the standings. The GAINSCO duo is still just four points behind new championship leaders, and Saturday race winners Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli, 269 – 265, but is now in fourth place. Christian Fittipaldi is second with 267 points while Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow are third with 266 markers.
“The good news is we came in here just four points out of first in the driver championship and we are leaving here still just four points out,” said Team Owner Bob Stallings. “I don’t think I remember ever being four points out with two races to go, so I say it is a positive, and we are going to Laguna, the place we started racing and both guys have always been really good there.
We really like it, our car has always been good there, so I am really optimistic we will get to the track where it all began for us, pull out a win, move into first place, and hold on for the championship.”
Next up for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 7 – 8. The weekend’s featured 2-3/4-hour timed GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race can be seen live on FOX Sports 1, Sunday, September 8, at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT.
Bob Stallings Racing