Fogged-up windshield stymies Gurney, GAINSCO team in Virginia qualifying race ALTON, Va. (April 22, 2006) -- After Alex Gurney set second-quick time in Friday practice, The GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team had high hopes coming into today's ...
Fogged-up windshield stymies Gurney, GAINSCO team in Virginia qualifying race
ALTON, Va. (April 22, 2006) -- After Alex Gurney set second-quick time in Friday practice, The GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team had high hopes coming into today's qualifying race for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway. But an electrical malady with the defogging windshield of the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley left Gurney struggling to see the track during the 30-minute contest, and forced an unscheduled pit stop that relegated the team to a disappointing 19th place finish. The result means that Jon Fogarty will start the GAINSCO car in 19th place for Sunday's feature.
"It looks like the heating element for the windshield broke, so it just fogged up 100 percent. I couldn't see anything out the windshield and I ran off on the grass on the backstraight because I couldn't see where I was going," Gurney said. "I decided, I'm going to crash this thing, so I had to pit. Even when I went down the pit lane I thought I might hit the pit wall. It was really bad, so we just ran around and got some points. But it's a long race tomorrow, we know the car is very good in the dry and both Jon Fogarty and I are on the pace, so we'll just look to move the GAINSCO car forward."
Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute endurance contest promises to be held under sunny skies and friendly weather conditions, which should help Fogarty move the GAINSCO machine quickly through the field at the start. Team owner Bob Stallings said he just can't fathom why the team has been so snakebit these past couple of races.
"The air blowers weren't working to defog Alex's windshield, and the windows just didn't clear, and he's quite lucky to have been able to make it back to the pit lane," Stallings said. "We believed we had a first-place car and to come home 19th is definitely not what we were hoping for. Our goal every week is to be No. 1 among the Pontiacs and we feel that we should be able to do that. However, we know we have a quick car in the dry and Jon has turned in extremely solid performances this weekend -- so in the race tomorrow, I know we won't be in 19th when he hands the car over to Alex."
For his part, Fogarty is looking forward to his first-ever start in a Daytona Prototype, and believes he can help pull the GAINSCO team back to the front of the pack.
"It's been a long time since I've started a race, so I'm definitely looking forward to Sunday," Fogarty said. "We're starting kind of in the thick of it but for sure there'll be a lot of opportunities to pass, especially with the GT traffic that we'll run into in just a couple laps. It's a long race and the car is very quick in the dry, so we can still perform strongly. We just need to stay clean, be smart and let the race come to us."
Fogarty and Gurney will attack the rolling hills of southern Virginia beginning Sunday morning with final practice for the Grand-Am Rolex Series set to begin at 9 a.m. Eastern time. The VIR 400k, scheduled for 77 laps or two hours and 45 minutes, will get the green flag at 1 p.m. sharp Sunday afternoon, and will be broadcast live on SPEED Channel. Internet radio coverage, live timing and scoring and race updates are available at Grand-Am.com.