GAINSCO team looks to close out the year on a high note in season's final sprint race at Infineon Raceway SONOMA, Calif. (August 24, 2006) -- Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway is the penultimate round of the 2006 Grand-Am Rolex Sports...
GAINSCO team looks to close out the year on a high note in season's final sprint race at Infineon Raceway
SONOMA, Calif. (August 24, 2006) -- Saturday's Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway is the penultimate round of the 2006 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and after their disappointing finish at Watkins Glen, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will look to go out in style as they and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance team seek their first-ever Daytona Prototype victory in the season's final two weekends.
The series is making its first-ever visit to the picturesque 2.52 mile road course set among Northern California vineyards, and the trip is a homecoming of sorts for both drivers. Fogarty, who hails from Los Altos, just 50 miles south, turned his first-ever racing laps and won his first-ever victory at the circuit, and Gurney, another native Californian, also scored a victory there in an SCCA event. Both drivers consider the track one of their favorites, and a successful test earlier this summer only served to build more confidence in their Pontiac Riley and their team.
"Jon and I are working very well together and we both love Sears Point, so I'm definitely optimistic. We've led a lot of races this year and we feel like we've been quick at every track on the schedule -- that shows a lot of strength," Alex said. "I'm really proud of the work of the GAINSCO team -- they've helped make that speed possible. It seems like before every race weekend, we keep saying we're going there to win but it doesn't seem to work out -- so this time I'll say we're going to get second. Maybe that will work!"
After Alex led the first 32 laps of the previous round at Watkins Glen, a pit stop problem and a late-race penalty conspired to steal possible victory away from Fogarty. But the challenges he faced have only served to further motivate him.
"I always want and hope to win, but after Watkins Glen, I am now raging to win. I am willing to tear heads off to win," Fogarty said with a grin. "I really consider Infineon to be my home track -- it was the first closed course I ever drove on and the place where I picked up my first-ever win when I was running SCCA Formula Vee. It's a very rhythmic track that requires a lot of commitment -- the Carousel and Turn 10 are serious corners with serious consequences for mistakes."
Fogarty said the combination of luck and perfection will drive the GAINSCO team into Victory Lane -- the team's had both, just never on the same weekend. "I know we can win this race," he said. "We just need to do it."
Team owner Bob Stallings was succinct -- he's had this race date marked on his calendar for a long time now. "The GAINSCO Boys have been looking forward to this race since it was announced last year," Stallings said. "We were quick when we tested here and I expect we'll be quick again this weekend."