GAINSCO drivers seek home-track advantage in Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sprint MONTEREY, Calif. (May 17, 2007) -- A pair of California aces, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will take on one of the most famous road courses in the world this weekend,...
GAINSCO drivers seek home-track advantage in Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca sprint
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 17, 2007) -- A pair of California aces, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will take on one of the most famous road courses in the world this weekend, as they and their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley seek victory on home turf in Sunday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve U.S. Sports Car Invitational delivered by Luggage Express, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The duo enter the weekend in a tie for sixth in points, after a top-5 drive at VIRginia International Raceway three weeks ago. Last year, in their second race together, Gurney and Fogarty scored a runner-up finish, and they'd like to do that one better this weekend. Both drivers love the twisting, hilly, 2.23-mile circuit, which is set in the rolling Coast Ranges of central California. Its signature "Corkscrew" turn is world-renowned and the rest of the course is no less challenging.
"I love going to Laguna Seca," Gurney said. "It's one of the great road courses in the country. Turn 6 and the downhill Turn 9 are really exciting to drive in a Daytona Prototype. I've raced here many times now and Jon has as well, so we both feel very comfortable about this event. There's 10 races left and the championship is still our goal."
Fogarty, who cut his teeth racing Formula Vees in the SCCA at Bay Area tracks, including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, agreed, and said the race is a critical moment in the team's hunt for a Rolex Series title. The points gap is large, but not insurmountable -- but to close it down, the No. 99 drivers will have to start chipping away this weekend, he said.
"I'm looking forward to racing out on the West Coast once again," Fogarty said. "(Laguna Seca) is a great track in a great location with lots of friends, family and GAINSCO support on hand -- that'll make it a really fun weekend," he said. "We've got another opportunity to move up in the points and we need to capitalize on that. With a string of races coming up, it's time to start building momentum."
Both Fogarty and Gurney's young children will be on hand to watch the festivities, and Jon jokingly noted that he'll get a chance to "show my son, William, how it's done."
Gurney and Fogarty kicked off the weekend's on-track activities today with a pair of test sessions, in which the No. 99 car set the second-quickest lap, turned by Gurney at 1:21.936, at an average speed of 109.842 mph. Gurney said the track has picked up a lot of grip thanks to a repaving job done since last year's event, which has sent laptimes spiraling downward.
"We're happy with our position relative to the field, and I think there's a lot left in the GAINSCO car," he said. "Hopefully, there's not as much left in the other guys! Both Jon and I were on it and it's a good way to start the weekend."
Fogarty, too, noted that the setup could be worked on. "We're not necessarily content with where we are with the car, so we'll keep tuning on it tomorrow to keep the 99 up front," he said.