Setup tweaks help Gurney, Fogarty set quick laps at Sonoma
Close cooperation puts GAINSCO machine up front in opening Rolex Series practice
SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 23, 2007) -- Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty made good use of today's pair of practice sessions for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway, putting their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley second on the timesheets when the checkered flag fell, with a best time of 1:28.982, at an average speed of 101.953 mph. More importantly, both drivers said they made extensive progress on developing a setup for the tricky 2.52-mile road course. With just 30 minutes of practice before qualifying tomorrow, getting up to speed was a key goal for the day.
That morning session goes green at 9:15 a.m. Pacific Time. Fogarty, who grew up outside Palo Alto, Calif., will attempt to extend a Grand-Am record by grabbing the team's ninth consecutive pole position in a 15-minute qualifying session, beginning at 4:20 p.m. The 99-lap, two-hour, 30-minute Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 begins at 2:45 p.m., with same-day-delay television coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on SPEED Channel. Live timing and scoring and Internet radio coverage will be available at http://www.grand-am.com.
Alex Gurney: "I was fastest in the first session, and I think in the second it depended on how people used their tires. It looks like us and the 39 car are quite a bit ahead of everyone else, and it's nice to see the 10 and the 01 cars well down the order -- we'll take that any day. Jon and I got through quite a lot of changes today and learned a lot about the GAINSCO car and the track, so we've got a lot of data to go through tonight and figure out what's best for tomorrow. I love this track because it's so much fun to drive. There are a lot of high-speed corners that you're really hustling and sliding around, but in the slow hairpins it's difficult to put the power down, and that changes the way you have to set up the car."
Jon Fogarty: "I started on an old set of tires and went to a not-so-old set, and there was quite a bit of improvement -- so I think on new tires, we're right there, but I think the jury's out as to where we are on old tires. It's tough to assess that with the limited running that we have. It's very tough to pass on this track, so starting up front will be important. The 39 car seems to be going well, and I expect them to be fighting for the pole. However, they're not in it for the championship, and we are, so we have to concentrate on what's important to us: finishing in front of the 10 and the 01. I ran my first-ever closed-course race here, and it's an awesome place. The track has changed a lot over the years but the basic layout and the challenge it poses hasn't. We'll be looking for a good showing for the hometown fans."
Bob Stallings: "The GAINSCO Boys did a pretty good job today, and we're pretty close to where we were last year. We're not quite on the numbers yet but my guess is that as the track comes in a bit more tomorrow, we'll see everybody pick up a little time. Taking the traction control out of these cars has made a real difference here. Getting good power-down coming out of that last hairpin is crucial."