GAINSCO team returns to The Glen, seeking a return to Victory Lane Gurney, Fogarty aim for championship points payoff in two-hour evening sprint Back in June at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty kick-started their...
GAINSCO team returns to The Glen, seeking a return to Victory Lane
Gurney, Fogarty aim for championship points payoff in two-hour evening sprint
Back in June at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty kick-started their chase for the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype driver and team championships with their second victory of the season. Since then, Gurney, Fogarty and their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley have been on a roll, winning three more times and capturing a pair of thirds -- putting them just nine markers out of the championship lead with three races to go. In Friday's Crown Royal 200 at The Glen, Gurney and Fogarty will look to keep the points pressure on by earning a clean sweep of the season's races at Watkins Glen International.
The challenge is a different one than the test of endurance that the GAINSCO duo faced earlier in the year, as this weekend's race format features a 200-mile or two-hour sprint on the 2.5-mile short course. But whatever the situation, the red No. 99 has always been up front on the historic circuit -- back in the team's 2005 debut season, Gurney and team owner Bob Stallings scored the team's first-ever podium in this very race. In five visits to upstate New York, the GAINSCO team has tallied a win, two poles and a pair of runner-up finishes. Not surprisingly, both Gurney and Fogarty say the track suits them perfectly -- and they couldn't think of a better place to stake their claim on the title.
"With just three races left, the championship is in our sights and Watkins Glen is the perfect place for our next race," Gurney said. "The GAINSCO team has always been very strong here, so we feel very comfortable with this race. Jon doesn't seem to qualify anywhere but on pole, so I think we can expect to be very competitive again. It's a very exciting time for this team right now -- everybody is very focused on winning this championship."
"I feel very good about our position, and I'm really excited to go back at it at The Glen this weekend -- it's a great track and with our victory here earlier this year, our confidence is high," Fogarty said. "It's a short race on the short course with no GT cars, so it will be all about pace this weekend. We can't hold anything back if we want to win this championship, and this is a great venue to let it all hang out."
The team's championship determination is heightened by another statistic -- for the first time ever, Gurney and Fogarty hold their season's destiny in their hands. If they can pilot the GAINSCO machine to victory in each of the last three rounds, beginning Friday, they will capture the Daytona Prototype driver and team titles, no matter what any other team or driver does. Absent a win, they can keep closing the gap by keeping the No. 10 of Max Angelelli and the No. 01 of Scott Pruett in their rear-view mirror.
Stallings is acutely aware of the team's position on the cusp of a championship, and in the season's waning races, he has the utmost confidence in the performance of his drivers, engineer and pit crew. Now, he said, the task is to keep taking the fight to the points leaders, one race at a time.
"We're happy to be going back to The Glen, because the guys like this track and we're in good shape for the championship," Stallings said. "We just need to keep doing what we've been doing -- stay out of trouble, nail the setup, don't make mistakes and get great drives from Alex and Jon."