Mexico City: Blackhawk Racing preview

GAINSCO team ready for action in return to legendary Mexico City circuit MEXICO CITY, Mexico- There's an old saying - history is written by the victors. This weekend, Alex Gurney, Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance/Blackhawk Racing ...

GAINSCO team ready for action in return to legendary Mexico City circuit

MEXICO CITY, Mexico- There's an old saying - history is written by the victors. This weekend, Alex Gurney, Bob Stallings and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance/Blackhawk Racing Daytona Prototype team hope to be able to write their own chapter in the record books at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, as the fabled road course plays host this weekend to the second round of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.

The team struggled to overcome a crash and an array of mechanical failures at the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in late January, but came together to give Stallings and Gurney a car that made it to the checkered flag despite multitude of handicaps. Now the GAINSCO Auto Insurance squad will take on the task of bringing the team into the top-10 in Daytona Prototype points for the first time in its history.

"We are excited to return to Mexico City," Stallings, who co-owns the team, said. "It will be a slightly different track configuration this year, but none the less, it is a great circuit with a lot of history. I enjoy driving this track, and we feel good about our chances. I am sure we will have a fast set-up, and as usual, Alex (Gurney) will be quick. Mexico City is an exciting event for us because of GAINSCO Auto Insurance, our primary sponsor. Almost three-quarters of GAINSCO's customer base are Hispanic, so we feel right at home with that sponsorship in place and intend to represent GAINSCO and their customers well in Mexico City."

At last year's Grand-Am season finale here, Gurney set blistering times in the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, and overcame an early-race spin that cost the team a lap, to make it nearly back into the top-10. Alex is confident that this time around, the GAINSCO machine will record an even stronger - and trouble-free - finish.

"I really enjoyed the race last year in Mexico City. I had a great dice with Michael Valiente in the closing laps, unfortunately for 13th! Although we went a lap down early in the race after a spin, we were able to maintain the leader's pace the rest of the race. I hope this time around we can have a trouble free race and establish a solid place in the championship for the GAINSCO team. I'm really excited about the 'Peraltada'; this should be a very quick corner in a Daytona prototype. With the esses just before, this circuit is a big challenge every time around."

One question that does concern the team is the issue of horsepower and weight for their Pontiac-powered machine. Gurney's comments were pointed - "I believe the penalties that Grand Am established have hit the Pontiac teams the hardest and that will make it extremely hard to pass, as we saw at Daytona. Despite this, we will be giving it everything for a top result," Alex said.

Stallings was more pragmatic. "Obviously, there's a lot of speculation in the garages right now," he said. "However, I feel sure that Grand-Am (officials) are prepared to take whatever action is necessary to equalize competition if it is shown that the Pontiac powerplant is at any sort of disadvantage."

-br

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Bob Stallings