Homestead: Bob Stallings Racing race report

NO. 99 TEAM MOVES TO SECOND, GURNEY & FOGARTY TO FOURTH IN ROLEX SERIES STANDINGS MIAMI, Fla. (March 6, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty held on for a third-place finish in Saturday's Grand Prix of ...

NO. 99 TEAM MOVES TO SECOND, GURNEY & FOGARTY TO FOURTH IN ROLEX SERIES STANDINGS

MIAMI, Fla. (March 6, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty held on for a third-place finish in Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami to move into contention in both the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver cChampionship standings after their best career-finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Fogarty jumped to the lead from the outside of the front row at the race start but soon realized the No. No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley lacked the pace of the other front runners. Pole-sitter Darren Law moved the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley into the lead on Lap 6 and the No. 99 went from early race leader to fighting for a top-three podium spot for the remainder of the race.

"To finish third and come away second in the team points is a testament to how good the team is," Fogarty said. "For our relative pace in the race, we only had the 10th fastest race lap overall, but strategy wise we did everything right. We didn't make any mistakes and we stayed up toward the front and maintained our track position."

Gurney took over from Fogarty just before the race's 45 minutes mark but was out horsepowered by the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley of Scott Pruett for second place just over an hour into the race. The No. 99 was never able to mount a challenge on the leaders after that and the focus shifted to just maintaining third to the finish.

"It was definitely a good day points wise but we had the usual struggle here at Homestead," Gurney said. "I feel like we have never really got the races right here. We were really light on downforce today and just struggled for grip. It was a tough day but we held on for third and I think that is as good as we were going to do today."

The race's only caution period came for debris on the track with just 22 minutes remaining. That moved some decidedly faster Daytona Prototypes within striking distance of the No. 99 but Gurney was able to hold off the competition for the final podium spot.

"Alex did a terrific job holding on for a long time with pressure from behind," Fogarty said. "It is really tough when you just don't have the same pace as the competition but we have left here with worse results."

Pruett later passed the No. 59 Brumos Porsche for the lead and went on to win the race with teammate Memo Rojas. The victory and a second-place finish in January's season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona moved the No. 01 and its drivers into second place in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Team and Driver Championship standings with 67 points. The No. 99 GAINSCO "Red Dragon" is second in the Rolex Series Team standings with 53 points. Gurney and Fogarty also have 53 points in the Rolex Series Driver Championship and rank fourth behind leaders Pruett and Rojas, Ryan Dalziel (61 points) and the duo of Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins (54 points).

Despite the solid championship standings, it will likely be a challenging season for the No. 99 GAINSCO "Red Dragon" team. Fogarty put it all in perspective.

"You know, you don't get something for nothing in racing," Fogarty said. "We have come to Homestead and tried to run a high downforce setup, figuring we would try to maximize the handling of the car in the infield because we knew we didn't have anything for them on the straights. That netted us a fourth-place finish last year, but that's not terrific.

"Now we came here and trimmed it out and took every bit of drag and corresponding downforce off of it and, yeah, we could get down the straightaways but we were so light on aero compared to everybody else that the infield was a total disaster," Fogarty said. "You definitely can't have your cake and eat it too when it comes to car setup. We need the entire package and we don't have it right now."

-source: bob stallings racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Darren Law , Memo Rojas , Burt Frisselle , Chip Ganassi , Mark Wilkins , Bob Stallings
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing