Disqualifications help GAINSCO team get its best start of the season with outside pole at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2006) -- Jon Fogarty will start the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley from the outside pole in Saturday's EMCO...
Disqualifications help GAINSCO team get its best start of the season with outside pole at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2006) -- Jon Fogarty will start the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley from the outside pole in Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after the top three cars in this afternoon's Rolex Series qualifying were disqualified for failing technical inspection. The second-place start is the best this season for GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing, and along with Alex Gurney, the pair now have one goal: chase down the polesitting No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche and seize the GAINSCO Auto Insurance team's first-ever Rolex Series victory.
During the late-afternoon 15-minute session, Fogarty set quick laps and briefly held the pole position, but the track continued to get faster as the session wore on and traffic prevented him from capitalizing on the improved surface. He ended the session in a strong fifth, and was working with Alex on a strategy to charge through the field early on before receiving word that the first, second and third place qualifiers, the 76, 01 and the 12, had their times disallowed for being too wide, moving the 99 up to second place on the grid.
"We think it's a little bit of poetic justice because we thought the GAINSCO Pontiac was capable of being a second-place car all along. While we never like to see other guys disqualified, it's a testament to our crew, that they had the attention to detail to make sure our car makes it through tech inspection," Fogarty said. "The 23 car is quick so they'll be tough for sure but I think the GAINSCO car is going to be really consistent over the stint. The Job team has had some issues this weekend, and I think they're pushing really hard to get all they can out of the car. I think we'll have a comfortable car that will let Alex and I put the pressure on and beat them in the race. This team is due a win, it's been too long in coming and hopefully we'll be able to make the most of this tomorrow."
Gurney will take the wheel of the GAINSCO 99 for the run to the checkered flag tomorrow evening, and the improved starting spot has only boosted his confidence level.
"I guess we made a few passes in tech and we'll take it," Gurney said with a grin. "You gotta run within the rules and this definitely puts us in a better position for tomorrow -- for one, it'll be a lot easier to stay out of trouble early on. We were ready to make a run at the win from fifth, so from second, we have an even better chance. I like this track and we're going to give it all we've got."
Team owner Bob Stallings also was quick to credit the hard-working GAINSCO crew, led by crew chief Terry Wilbert and lead mechanic Ryan Reid, with ensuring that the No. 99 machine passed muster with the series technical inspectors after qualifying, and thus put the team in position to capitalize on the disqualifications.
"We all know this is a team sport, everyone on the team has to do their job. Part of the process of winning races is watching the details -- of course, we're not glad that the three teams were put to the back but that's the breaks," Stallings said. "There's no question that Porsche power has been a problem all year and we'll have our hands full with the 23 car. That said, we've got two of the fastest guys on track, Alex had the pole here last year and we've been quick in practice so I think we're going to do well."
Tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney will get 30 minutes to shake down the 99 in final practice. The 111-lap or two-hour, 45-minute EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank goes 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.