BRASELTON, Georgia (April 16, 2013) – Two-time series champions GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing, and lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, head to new track in a familiar points position this weekend for the inaugural GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at Road Atlanta, April 18 – 20, where the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype team arrives just two points out of the 2013 championship lead.
GAINSCO won the 2007 and 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Championships but this year marks the team’s best start to a season on record. After finishing seventh in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty rallied to win the debut race at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in March. They followed that milestone Texas victory with a second-place finish two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.
The strong opening-quarter performance helped the team forget about last year’s winless season and moved the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” squad into early championship contention. Heading to Road Atlanta, both the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype and Gurney and Fogarty have 91 points in the respective team and driver championship standings. They trail perennial rivals Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, and the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley team, by just two points.
“This is our best start to any Rolex season so far,” Gurney said. “Last year was hard on everyone on the team and I'm proud of the way everyone knuckled down in the off season and refocused to come back stronger in 2013. This series keeps getting tougher and tougher and we are trying very hard to continue to up our game at every event.”
Continued success this weekend at Road Atlanta wouldn’t be a surprise as GAINSCO and its drivers have performed well at debut races in recent years. With the COTA victory from the pole, Fogarty has been the top qualifier at the last three first-time races in the Rolex Series, including the inaugural 2012 events at Detroit Belle Isle and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We should do well at Road Atlanta, it is very different than COTA, but it does share similarities with other tracks we visit,” Fogarty said. “I feel like we can adapt when we need to but I am confident that we will show up with a competitive car. We have been in discussions about Road Atlanta since it was announced that we would be going there. Visiting a new circuit is always exciting, I am certain it will be extremely competitive, but that is nothing new in GRAND-AM.”
Road Atlanta is a fitting addition to a GRAND-AM Road Racing schedule that already includes other iconic American road racing venues.
“I love the Road Atlanta track and view it as one of the classics like Elkhart Lake, Mid-Ohio or Laguna Seca,” Gurney said. “I only have one race under my belt there but we should get plenty of track time to get acclimated again.”
Although the track is new to GRAND-AM, Gurney and Fogarty join the majority of the competition in having at least some experience on the challenging 2.54-mile road course.
“I imagine most of the GRAND-AM field has been to Road Atlanta at some point,” Fogarty said. “It has been since 2005 for me, but I don’t think much has changed. As far as the track goes, it is a serious place. Fast corners, not much in the way of run off, just real old school in many ways, so I think the layout should make for an interesting race. We will see varying downforce levels used come race time. All in all, I think it is great that we are racing at Road Atlanta. It is a proper road course and seems to have a strong legion of sports car fans.”
The Road Atlanta GRAND-AM Road Racing weekend is a two-day Friday and Saturday event preceded by unofficial track testing on Thursday. Practice and qualifying takes place on Friday while race-day Saturday begins with a 45-minute final practice session at 9:15 a.m. EDT. The featured GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. EDT.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing