GURNEY RECOVERS FOR SIXTH-PLACE FINISH: TEAMMATES FOGARTY AND JOHNSON ALSO LEAD WATKINS, GLEN, N.Y. (June 5, 2010) -- A late-race spin 15 minutes from the finish cost GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and its team of champion drivers, Alex Gurney,...
GURNEY RECOVERS FOR SIXTH-PLACE FINISH: TEAMMATES FOGARTY AND JOHNSON ALSO LEAD
WATKINS, GLEN, N.Y. (June 5, 2010) -- A late-race spin 15 minutes from the finish cost GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and its team of champion drivers, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Jimmie Johnson, a top-three podium finish in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley in Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. The race was Round 6 of 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season and brought the first half of the year to a close.
Gurney was running in third and attempting to chase down race leaders Scott Pruett and Max Angelelli when he spun in Turn 7, which is known as the "Toe of the Boot." Gurney continued after a brief delay but lost several positions and eventually crossed the finish line in sixth place.
"I feel really bad and threw away a certain podium," said Gurney, who drove the final two hours of the race. "I was absolutely on my limit the entire run. I had a good restart, my first restart, and got two guys and just gave three spots back there at the end with the spin. I had been locking up the rears a little bit going into the Toe of the Boot, and should have gone for it on the brake bias, and just got in there a little hot. I thought I was making up time on Max there but I was just pushing too hard and spun it around. It's a shame but we will go on to the next one."
Gurney's potential podium run came after a pair of solid opening drives by Fogarty and Johnson, including a strong triple-stint by starting driver Fogarty who drove for more than three hours in mixed wet and dry conditions. Fogarty led 56 laps during the run, which was second only to eventual race winner Pruett's total of 95 laps led. Gurney and Johnson were also credited with officially leading one lap each during pit stops.
"It was a good run and I am definitely going to be pretty sore tomorrow," Fogarty said. "This place is pretty physical with the long g-loaded corners and with about a half hour to go my neck had given up and my head was just kind of flopping around. The car was really well balanced, so it wasn't a white-knuckle run, so I felt like I could push the car and the limit was easily approachable. We obviously didn't end with the result we wanted but I am pleased we had some relative pace to the rest of the field, with the exception of the No. 01 car. We will build on that in the second half of the season."
Johnson, who was making his first GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype start on a track other than Daytona International Speedway, drove nearly the entire fourth hour of the race in between Fogarty's and Gurney's stints. Fogarty brought the No. 99 into the pits in the lead and Johnson ran no lower than third in his stint before handing the car over to Gurney in second place.
"It was a lot of fun but I probably lacked a little confidence in traffic for maybe the first five or six laps," said Johnson, who stayed with the GAINSCO team for nearly the entire race. "But I only had 10 to 12 laps 'at speed' between the two short practice sessions I was a part of Friday. I feel like I did well and I really learned a lot here today with the braking ability of the car, the grip level this track has, and I think it will help me when I go back to the Rolex 24 At Daytona next year."
Team owner Bob Stallings will also be focused on next year in the second half of the 2010 season.
"We have been working on a few things and we like the fact that we finished this race and that we finished the last race," Stallings said. "We are going to use the last six races of this season to get ready for next year and my guess is we are going to win a couple."
Next up for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing is the EMCO Gear Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 18 - 19.
Despite his personal disappointment, Gurney had high praise for his teammates. "Jon did a mega job in his stint in difficult conditions and Jimmie Johnson did and excellent job, again, like he normally does, with very little time in the car."^a Johnson also learned about typical sports car endurance racing traffic in his first Daytona Prototype run on a true road course. "I'm thankful that the team invited me out and I'm glad I got the car back to them in one piece," Johnson said. "I definitely had some contact with the No. 75 (Ford Lola) and he put me in the dirt. It damaged the nose a little bit but not too bad."