Mid-Ohio: Blackhawk Racing preview

Return to Mid-Ohio an inspiration for surging GAINSCO/Blackhawk duo INDIANAPOLIS- Last September, Bob Stallings' first-ever visit to the scenic and challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course played host to his greatest racing triumph, setting a new...

Return to Mid-Ohio an inspiration for surging GAINSCO/Blackhawk duo

INDIANAPOLIS- Last September, Bob Stallings' first-ever visit to the scenic and challenging Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course played host to his greatest racing triumph, setting a new track record and storming to victory in the 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship race.

This weekend, Stallings will make his return to the 2.25-mile track in Lexington, Ohio, paired with Alex Gurney behind the wheel of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley. Together, they'll look for the checkered flag in Saturday evening's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Road Racing Classic.

With four top-10 finishes in the team's first four Rolex Series starts, a pole at Barber Motorsports Park and the team's first podium two weeks ago at Watkins Glen International, GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing has established itself as the new team to watch - and Gurney is confident he and Stallings will continue the streak.

"We are all very much fired up about our recent performances with the GAINSCO Riley and look to continue progressing this weekend," Alex said. "Mid-Ohio is one of my favorite tracks and with Bob having won last year at the Runoffs, we should both be very prepared to tackle the challenge. We'll be aiming for another podium."

For his part, Stallings is excited by the prospect of returning to a course where he's had so much success. He said the track time he racked up during the Runoffs would put him in a better position than at the previous three Rolex Series courses where he had no prior experience.

"Going back to Mid-Ohio is an inspiring experience, and I'm expecting to be as comfortable in the car as I was at Laguna Seca for our debut. There, I climbed from 16th to 10th before a tire cut down and I had to pit," Stallings said.

Along with his own performance, Bob also has confidence in Gurney's "blistering" speed through the rolling hills of central Ohio. "Put all those reasons together and I'm feeling pretty good about our prospects this weekend," he said.

Of course, formidable foes await the GAINSCO team, in the form of Pontiac- powered Rileys from series-dominating Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, Krohn Racing/TRG - and Michael Shank, who, Bob noted, is competing on home turf. But against all the talented opposition, "I still like the chances for the No. 99 car," Stallings said.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Bob Stallings , Michael Shank