Gurney, Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Persevere for An Eighth-Place Finish in Eventful Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen EARLY LEADERS HINDERED BY OVERHEATING AND OTHER ISSUES BUT RALLY FOR LEAD LAP FINISH WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 7,...
Gurney, Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Persevere for An Eighth-Place Finish in Eventful Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen
EARLY LEADERS HINDERED BY OVERHEATING AND OTHER ISSUES BUT RALLY FOR LEAD LAP FINISH
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 7, 2008) -- Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen moved off to a great start for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Grand-Am Rolex Series Co-Champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty but ended up being a lesson in perseverance as the team rallied through a myriad of problems to take a hard-earned eighth-place finish.
After Friday's shortened qualifying session kept Gurney from posting a green-flag attempt, the team elected to start Saturday's race from the pits and essentially at the tail-end of the Daytona Prototype field. Gurney didn't stay there long, however, and charged to lead the race twice in the opening 90 minutes. The strong opening run, however, eventually gave way to several problems that saw the GAINSCO team and drivers work through a variety of issues.
"We obviously had a great car and it was fun driving through the field in the first hour," Gurney said. "We were encouraged about the rest of the day, but after my second stint when Jon got in, I guess (Eric) van de Poele brake-checked him and it started to cascade from there. We had to change noses and the whole last three hours or so it was overheating pretty bad, so I wasn't able to contend. So, again, we had some pace, but no result."
Fogarty took over from Gurney who pitted while leading just under two hours into the race but returned in 12th place after losing time when the No. 99's radio roof antennae base loosened inside the cockpit. That began an almost uncanny string of problems that saw the GAINSCO team prove its championship caliber and perseverance for the remaining hours of the race.
"The overheating thing is kind of a mystery," Fogarty said. "We really don't know what it was, but as soon as I got in the car things weren't going well. We had the radio antennae plate fall down in front of my face and that was a big issue for awhile. There was also a little bit of questionable tactics out there by one of the Krohn guys checking up on us, but all in all the crew did a great job, getting our lap back and keeping us in the game."
Fogarty also had to deal with a punctured left rear tire just after the race's halfway point that dropped him in the order after his first climb back through the field.
"Tons of things to overcome -- the nose damage, the radio deal, the punctured tire, overheating -- it was a rough one. We will get back to our old ways of winning, though, for sure. The odds of these kinds of things continuing just can't go that way."
Despite the numerous setbacks, the GAINSCO team only fell one lap behind but managed to get that back before the finish. When the race restarted with less than 20 minutes to go after the ninth and final caution of the day, Gurney was nearly in site of the lead pack when time expired and the checkered flag flew.
"Thinking back, this is probably the most event-filled race that I can remember being in," said Team Owner Bob Stallings. "Virtually for four of the six hours we were here, something was happening to us all the time. Everybody kind of hung in there and we kept making all of the best calls we could make in the process. In the end, Alex made a real valiant effort driving because the car was probably down 30 to 40 horsepower with all of the heat we were running. He was still charging off some pretty quick and cool laps."
Despite the challenging day, the GAINSCO team and drivers remain in the top three in the respective Rolex Series driver and team championships. With 153 points in both championships, Gurney and Fogarty hold down third in the driver standings while the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley is third in the team championship.