MONTEREY, Calif. – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will race at home in California this weekend, locked in a tight GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship fight that comes to a Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit that has traditionally been one of the best for the GAINSCO “Red Dragon” team and drivers.
Just four points out of the championship lead, Gurney, Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype team are heading to the right track at the right time in pursuit of what would be their third GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship.
The BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 GAINSCO squad won two of the last three races at Laguna Seca, back-to-back victories in 2009 and 2011 (GRAND-AM Road Racing did not appear at Laguna Seca in 2010), and finished second last year.
The 2009 Laguna victory was one of four that season that helped GAINSCO win its second championship. The first Daytona Prototype title was earned in 2007.
“This year’s championship is so tight at the moment, and so close, that it’s essentially like starting over, having a two race championship and seeing who comes out ahead,” Gurney said. “We've finished first, first and second in our last three races at Laguna so we feel very good about going there.
I've always loved the place, and Jon and I have made each other better each year as far as picking up the little nuances of how to go fast around there.”
In addition to being the home track for California natives Gurney and Fogarty, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing made its GRAND-AM debut at Laguna in 2005. Gurney and Fogarty earned their first podium finish as a duo at Laguna in just their second race together in 2006, and the team has always been strong on the 2.238-mile Monterey road course.
“Laguna is an interesting track,” Fogarty said. “The car needs to work and it’s difficult to drive around setup issues here. We think we know what works, and hopefully our package works better that the others. I have a lot of confidence in the team to put out a strong car, and Laguna is a good track for the Corvettes.”
Although only four points behind the championship leaders, Gurney and Fogarty rank fourth in the standings with 265 points. Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli currently top the Daytona Prototype championship with 269 points, Christian Fittipaldi is second with 267 and Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow are third with 266 markers.
“We're confident, but the competition level in the Rolex Series has gone up several notches in all departments,” Gurney said. “We're expecting an extremely tough race.”
As tight as the championship is, it may be difficult for GAINSCO or any other team to leave Monterey with a firm lock on the title heading into the season-ending race later this month at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
“With the level that all the teams and drivers are at right now, I don’t think it will be possible to get it done in one race,” Fogarty said. “We will have to excel both at Laguna and in at Lime Rock to win the championship. Our performance at Laguna has always been strong so I see it as a stepping stone to the title.”
A two-day event, the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival begins with a pair of practice sessions Friday before Daytona Prototype qualifying that afternoon at 5:45 p.m. PDT. Race-day Saturday’s only GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series action is the featured 2-3/4-hour race that begins at 2 p.m. PDT.
Bob Stallings Racing