GAINSCO team scores solid podium in tough run under the lights in Iowa Fogarty leads early, but mechanical issues keep Gurney out of fourth straight Victory Lane NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2007) -- Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty stood on their fourth...
GAINSCO team scores solid podium in tough run under the lights in Iowa
Fogarty leads early, but mechanical issues keep Gurney out of fourth straight Victory Lane
NEWTON, Iowa (July 13, 2007) -- Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty stood on their fourth consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series podium tonight in the Iowa 400k at Iowa Speedway -- but it was the third step rather than the top for the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley.
Fogarty led the race's first 34 laps from the pole, and then a short-fill pit stop on Lap 38 put him out ahead of the No. 10 machine. He would lead the next 47 laps, until pitting to fill the tanks and swap drivers on Lap 85. Shortly after climbing in the GAINSCO machine, Gurney found himself battling a broken exhaust pipe that ate away at the Pontiac engine's otherwise-superb fuel economy. He was forced to take every fuel-saving path that could be found to ensure that the No. 99 would make it home without making a third "splash-and-go" stop. That left Gurney at a disadvantage in the chase for the victory, and he brought the car home under the checkers on Lap 192 in third.
"I think we had a smart drive, and we did everything we could to win this race, but we just had some goofy things happen," Fogarty said. "When I was in the car, there was a lot of ebb and flow -- I could open a gap, then the 10 car would close it, and I'd open it up again. When the 01 car got by the 10, I was able to maintain the gap, and that gave us a bit of confidence that, as the balance came my way, I could hold on to the lead."
"After the driver change, I came out of the pits right behind (eventual winner Scott) Pruett, and we had a fast car that, after a few laps, had something for him," Gurney said. "Every time we came into traffic, I was pressuring him. But then we broke the exhaust. I thought we were going to lose more power than we did, but it really hurt the fuel mileage. We had to conserve more, and I had alarms going off the whole time. But to finish third on a rough day is not a bad result."
There's a bit of disappointment in the GAINSCO trailer, as the 99 car ran fast all night, and if not for the mechanical issue, Gurney and Fogarty could quite possibly have found themselves celebrating their series-record fourth straight win. But nonetheless, the duo are leaving the season's final roval in an upbeat mood. The remaining five races of the Rolex Series season are on traditional road courses, where the 99 car has shined all year. Furthermore, tonight's podium drive through adversity was an example of what team owner Bob Stallings has looked for all year long -- the mature and disciplined ability to get the most out of whatever situation the GAINSCO Boys find themselves in.
"I'm very proud of the entire GAINSCO team. There have been times before when this sort of situation wouldn't have gone this well for us," Stallings said. "Everyone kept their heads on straight and we figured out how to squeeze every last drop of performance out of a car that had a few problems. Kyle did a great job with the strategy and Alex showed great patience driving a wounded machine. This is the kind of performance that will win championships, and it's what we as a team have been striving for -- discipline, maturity and consistency even when things don't necessarily go our way."
The chase for the championships has become tougher -- Gurney and Fogarty stand third in the driver points with 250, 22 back from Pruett, but just seven behind Angelelli. In team points, the 99 is also third with 250, 22 behind Chip Ganassi and a scant two markers back from Wayne Taylor Racing.
The GAINSCO team will return to its Lewisville, Texas shops for another quick turnaround, as on Thursday, the Grand-Am Series resumes competition for the third straight weekend -- this time, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Promoter testing for the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant begins at 10 a.m. on the 19th. Official practice starts at 10:45 a.m. on the 20th, with qualifying for the Daytona Prototypes going green at 10:25 a.m. on the 21st. The 109-lap, 250-mile or two-hour, 30-minute race gets underway Sunday, July 22nd at 2 p.m. Eastern time. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel.