At Mid-Ohio, Gurney, Fogarty and the GAINSCO team look to continue mid-season success LEXINGTON, Ohio. -- With three podiums and five top-10 finishes in the last five races, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty have put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance...
At Mid-Ohio, Gurney, Fogarty and the GAINSCO team look to continue mid-season success
LEXINGTON, Ohio. -- With three podiums and five top-10 finishes in the last five races, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty have put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley on the cusp of the team's first-ever Rolex Sports Car Series victory. This weekend, the GAINSCO team will continue its quest for the top of the podium at the tricky and technical Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the rolling hills of central Ohio, in Saturday evening's EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank, the ninth round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.
Mid-Ohio is a track that's been friendly to the Blackhawk crew -- it's where team owner Bob Stallings won the 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship and where Alex Gurney took the pole and led dozens of laps last year. Gurney said he thinks the track could be even trickier than usual to come to grips with, thanks to all-new pavement laid down earlier this year.
"We're excited to get back to Mid-Ohio, and I'm very curious to see how the track has changed since it was repaved," Gurney said. "There are several theories out there from the Daytona Prototype teams that tested last month -- some are reporting more grip, others report less! It might mean our setup from last year won't be optimal but it shouldn't take us much time to come up with a very quick GAINSCO machine."
Fogarty, who took a victory at Mid-Ohio in Barber Dodge Pro Series competition, will take the No. 99 out to qualify for the first time. Jon knows his job on Friday is spelled out in no uncertain terms: match Alex's performance last year and put the GAINSCO team on the pole once again.
"There will be some unknowns with the new surface and the question is, how much of our setup will we have to change, but between Alex and I and our engineer Kyle Brannan, we should find the right package. Alex put the car on the pole last year here and it's definitely my job to repeat that. I'm confident that I will be prepared to get the most of that sticker set of Hoosiers come Friday afternoon qualifying," Fogarty said.
Jon enjoys the 2.25-mile road course, saying his driving style just fits perfectly with the big drops and blind corners that make driving the circuit a grueling task. "My favorite area is the backside, Madness and all the really technical stuff," he said.
For Stallings, this race represents another huge opportunity for the No. 99 to break through.
"Both Alex and Jon are showing the kind of speed and talent that make the GAINSCO/Blackhawk car a serious contender everywhere we go," he said. "I really do feel good about this team and our prospects of becoming a championship program. Getting our first win here would be a great way to start the final stretch of the 2006 season."
Alex and Jon will take on the EMCO Gears Classic weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course beginning today with unofficial testing. Opening timed practice will begin Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern time, with a 15-minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session set for 4:55 p.m. On Saturday, the 111-lap or two-hour, 45-minute EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank will go green at 5:30 p.m. The race will be televised on a tape-delayed basis on SPEED Channel at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, June 25. Race weekend updates from the team are available on the From the Pit blog at GAINSCOracing.blogspot.com, and Internet radio coverage and live timing and scoring are available at www.Grand-Am.com.