Mexico City: Blackhawk Racing qualifying report

Strong debut season for GAINSCO team wraps up south of the border MEXICO CITY- After eight races, thousands of miles, two poles and a podium, Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney will make their final start of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car...

Strong debut season for GAINSCO team wraps up south of the border

MEXICO CITY- After eight races, thousands of miles, two poles and a podium, Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney will make their final start of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season today at the storied Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. The duo has a burning desire to finish out their debut season in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance/Wells Fargo Pontiac Riley on a high note.

In practice Friday for La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car, Gurney showed fine form and consistency, scoring the third-quickest lap in both sessions. That afternoon, Stallings put the GAINSCO Riley 15th on the grid during qualifying, a steady improvement over previous efforts.

"I'm very pleased that once again we've been able to roll the car off the truck and fight right up at the front of the field," Stallings said. "It's a real testament to all the hard work put in by everyone on our team. Now it's just a question of finishing the race in one piece - it's a lot easier for Alex to go fast when there's no holes in the car."

Both drivers said they immensely enjoy the historic 2.9 mile circuit despite its challenging layout and rough, unforgiving surface.

"The track is very fun and very fast," Gurney said. "It's great to be at a track that brings in so many passionate fans of road racing, and I think we're going to put on a great show for them."

Alex noted that the relative lack of GT traffic - just 8 production-based cars made the trip here - will change the complexion of the race, making it more difficult to get a "pick" to pass other prototypes.

Stallings said the pivotal corners on the track are the fast, flowing Esses, which he said demand a very smooth and consistent driving line. "The key to the whole track is right there," Bob said. "There's two big braking zones and the stadium section, it's hard to say which part is my favorite. I love the entire course."

Both drivers are racing at the Autodromo for the very first time - and for Gurney, it's a particularly special and historic experience. His father, Dan, won the 1964 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix on this very circuit, and while some corners have changed, Alex said he took pleasure in discussing the track with his dad - memories that still endure.

"He really loved this place - any track you win at, you love," Alex said with a grin.

Bob and Alex are also very excited about the upcoming 2006 season, as they have both treated this year as a learning experience to build on for a full- season campaign. While the team's plans for next year have not been finalized, Bob is confident the team's strong competitive form will continue beginning at Daytona.

But that's next season - there's two hours and 45 minutes or 90 laps of Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series racing left in this one, and the GAINSCO Riley figures to be fighting right at the top of the heap. The green flag will drop on La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time. SPEED Channel will present live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern, 1 p.m Pacific, and live timing and Web radio coverage of all the exciting action will be available at www.Grand-Am.com.

-bms-

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