Gurney, Fogarty, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Set for First 2008 Win as Season Hits Halfway Mark at Mid-Ohio EMCO Gears Classic LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 18, 2008) -- Returning to the site of what may have been their most convincing victory in a ...
Gurney, Fogarty, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Set for First 2008 Win as Season Hits Halfway Mark at Mid-Ohio EMCO Gears Classic
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 18, 2008) -- Returning to the site of what may have been their most convincing victory in a season of domination that ended with the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Championships, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will be looking for their first win of the season as they defend their victory in the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Saturday, June 21 (Live on SPEED at 5 p.m. ET).
Last year, Fogarty won the pole at Mid-Ohio with a new track record of 103.718 mph (1:18.374), and he and Gurney co-drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley to a victory that stood out even among the team's six other 2007 wins. A virtual flag-to-flag romp, the duo lost the lead only when the field twice cycled through green flag pit stops and ended up setting the pace for 105 of the race's 111 laps. Gurney took over from Fogarty on Lap 31 and went on to open up to an enormous 31.629 second margin of victory at the finish. The winning average speed of 100.389 mph for the caution-free race was a new Rolex Series record for the 250-mile race distance at Mid-Ohio.
"No doubt, we left Mid-Ohio feeling like we were hitting our stride," said Fogarty, who earned his first professional race win at Mid-Ohio in Barber Dodge Pro Series competition back in 1998. "When you have a race like we had last year, it really makes you feel that all the hard work is paying off, and that is what we are shooting for again this weekend. We are going to use this year's race to get back on track and shake off some of the bad luck we have been having."
The EMCO Gears Classic is Round 7 of 14 races on the 2008 schedule. The No. 99 GAINSCO team has been in hunt at the majority of events this season -- leading in five of the six races run prior to Mid-Ohio -- but has hit the top-three podium only once with a second-place showing in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The team has dealt with almost every type of on-track setback this season, from routine racing maladies to obscure component failures.
"We have had it all and then some as far as what can go wrong in the year's first few races," Fogarty said. "Hopefully all of our bad luck will have been used up long before we get to Mid-Ohio."
Gurney has also had success at Mid-Ohio, taking two Barber Formula Dodge victories in 1997 and winning the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype pole in the GAINSCO team's first appearance at the track in 2005. In fact, the GAINSCO team has never started off the front row in three appearances at Mid-Ohio. Fogarty qualified second and he and Gurney finished third in the 2006 event after leading 31 laps.
"Mid-Ohio is another fantastic race track on the Grand-Am schedule," Gurney said. "I've got a lot of miles there and it seems like there is always another little nuance to learn about the track each year. When they resurfaced it and changed the curbs, there was again a whole other approach that was possible. We won the race last year with a huge margin, so I expect that we'll be very tough to beat again this year. We feel we've been in a position to win the last four races, but we've just had little problems that kept us back. With that in mind, we are very hungry to get our first win of the year."
Despite the challenges, the No. 99 GAINSCO team is third in the Rolex Series Team Championship with 153 points. The same number of points also has Gurney and Fogarty with the third highest total in the Rolex Series Driver Championship. Leaders Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley have 202 points while Marc Goossens, Jim Matthews and the No. 91 Riley-Matthews Pontiac Riley are within GAINSCO's reach at 166 points.