GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing overcomes brake component repairs to win third pole in last four races in the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen; Ttough practice day doesn't stop no. 99 Gainsco team from setting new track record. WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing overcomes brake component repairs to win third pole in last four races in the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen; Ttough practice day doesn't stop no. 99 Gainsco team from setting new track record.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 6, 2009) -- Once again answering the call when the pressure was on, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's championship-winning pit crew didn't let a complete brake system change just before qualifying stop driver Jon Fogarty from winning the team's second consecutive pole Thursday for tomorrow night's Crown Royal 200. The two-hour twilight sprint race on the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International NASCAR short course is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday.
Fogarty also drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley to the pole one race ago in the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union at Barber Motorsports Park and two races prior to that in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. GAINSCO has now started on the front row in each of the last five Rolex Series races in a streak that began right here at Watkins Glen in June's Sahlen's Six Hours.
"We spent really the whole first morning practice trying to diagnose the brake problems," Fogarty said. "We had no time to develop the car and we eventually reached the conclusion that we should bring the car back to the truck and make a complete change, master cylinder, brakes and basically the entire braking system. The GAINSCO crew was put to the test again, like they were at Daytona when we had to change the steering rack just minutes before the race. It was a total thrash and fortunately we got the car put back together and we were granted a couple of hardship laps by Grand-Am at the end of practice."
Fogarty was fastest in the 15-minute qualifying session four different times and sealed the pole with a time of 1:05.069 (135.548 mph) on his 12th and final lap of the session. Each of his quick laps broke the former track record of 1:05.243 (135.187 mph) set last year by Brian Frisselle in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley.
"I still have yet to run a hot lap, but the car is great," Gurney said. "Jon went out right away and was superfast at the start of the session and just kept lowering it. We are excited that the GAINSCO crew got us back to where we need to be. We were a little worried there and even just a few minutes before qualifying we weren't sure if the car was right, but the crew did a great job."
The fact that the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley was in pole-winning form despite no meaningful practice laps at all impressed both drivers.
"The car was good and it is a testament to the engineers and the homework they are doing away from the track between races to be able to come here with a package capable of qualifying up front," Fogarty said. "We got going right away and there is something to be said about not running prior to that. Jumping right in, you really can't worry about the things the car is doing wrong. You just have to focus on going fast, and that's what I had to do. I got going quick and just decided to let it all hang out."
GAINSCO will share the front row with the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley that was qualified by Memo Rojas. The Rolex Series championship standings have never been closer as GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty are tied with archrivals Rojas, Scott Pruett and the No. 01 team with 216 points in both the Daytona Prototype Driver and Team Championships. Just one point back is the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara and drivers Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle, which starts third in tomorrow's race.
The pole was the 16th for GAINSCO in its Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series history and third in the last four years in the Crown Royal 200 after also taking the top spot in 2006 with Gurney driving and 2007 with Fogarty at the wheel. Gurney also put the No. 99 on the pole for the 2007 Sahlen's Six Hour race.