Utah: Blackhawk Racing Thursday report

GAINSCO team goes into the night at Miller Motorsports Park TOOELE, Utah -- Today in a trio of practice sessions, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmy Vasser and their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley officially kicked off the inaugural...

GAINSCO team goes into the night at Miller Motorsports Park

TOOELE, Utah -- Today in a trio of practice sessions, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmy Vasser and their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley officially kicked off the inaugural Discount Tire Sunchaser weekend at the immense 4.5-mile Miller Motorsports Park in the desert west of Salt Lake City. All three drivers quickly picked up the track's peculiarities, and while the team's best lap was only good enough for ninth quick, the GAINSCO Boys have learned the hard lesson that fast times in practice don't necessarily translate into strong race performances. In qualifying on Friday afternoon, the team will look to accelerate to the top of the charts and work out a solid, consistent race setup for the grueling nine-hour test of endurance they face on Saturday. One issue of concern that cropped up in this evening's night practice session was the utter pitch-blackness of the course once the sun goes down. All three drivers agreed that visibility was so poor, it could pose a dangerous situation in the race -- and that some steps need to be taken to improve track lighting.

Driver Quotes:

Alex Gurney: "The GAINSCO Pontiac is pretty solid -- we would have liked to go a little faster but really what we want is a setup that allows us to just drive the car for eight hours. We've been very fast at a lot of tracks so far this year, but it hasn't translated into wins, so I really don't think these practice times mean that much to the race."

Jon Fogarty: "I think it's quite tough to get a handle on this track because you just don't get that much time to work on the car. By the time you get a couple solid laps in, the session's almost over, or you've got to hand the GAINSCO Pontiac over to your co-driver. The first eight hours or so will quite simply be about racing the clock -- taking minute after minute off the time remaining, and keeping your car in good shape. Judging by what I've seen today, I expect a lot of attrition -- so being smart at the start is going to be key."

Jimmy Vasser: "I'm really excited to be back in the GAINSCO car and I've had a blast so far. We're really working well together to share feedback and figure out how to squeeze a bit more speed out. We took a little wing out this afternoon and it seemed to help, so perhaps trimming the downforce is the way to go."

-credit: GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jimmy Vasser , Jon Fogarty