GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty settle for fourth in shortened Crown Royal 200 qualifying session WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 6, 2010) -- A qualifying session that was cut short with over five minutes remaining after two other ...
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty settle for fourth in shortened Crown Royal 200 qualifying session
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 6, 2010) -- A qualifying session that was cut short with over five minutes remaining after two other competitors were involved in an accident saw GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty settle for a fourth-place starting berth for tomorrow's Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International. The timed two-hour twilight sprint race on The Glen's NASCAR short course can be seen live on SPEED, Saturday, August 7, at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.
The defending Crown Royal 200 pole winner, Fogarty and the majority of his Daytona Prototype competitors were just beginning to turn some fast laps when the Daytona Prototypes of Mark Patterson and Buddy Rice came together in The Glen's bus-stop chicane. The incident brought qualifying to a stop with just six of the 15 scheduled minutes completed and GRAND-AM officials threw the checkered flag a few minutes later when it was determined the on-track clean up would take longer than the time available in the session. Fogarty's lap of 1:06.020 (133.595 mph) was good enough for fourth on the grid.
"I think we had more in the car but everybody else did too," Fogarty said. "I think the qualifying positions are fairly indicative of everybody's pace. The guys in front of us were able to get up to speed quicker because their cars were a little bit better, so we are going to keep working at it. I do think we would have tightened it up a little bit if we would have been able to run a couple more laps, but that's what happens sometimes in qualifying. So it was good to get a lap in and get in the top four. We are not totally happy with it but we are going to keep working."
With a row-two starting spot locked down, Fogarty, teammate Alex Gurney and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team quickly shifted to pre-race planning and strategy. At just two hours in length, the Crown Royal 200 and the next race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal later this month are the shortest races of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series season.
"It's a shorter race tomorrow night so strategy will be a big deal," Gurney said. "Some luck might factor into it too as far as the yellows and if you take them for pit stops or not. So, it is going to be interesting and we are going to have to be on our toes and try and get track position."
The reigning two-time GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions, GAINSCO will be looking for its second 2010 victory in a row in tomorrow's race after winning for the first time this season last month at New Jersey Motorsports Park. That victory from the pole helped the team establish some momentum to bring to The Glen for a race that has been successful for the No. 99 team in the past. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty won the 2007 Crown Royal 200 from the pole, finished second the following year and fourth in 2009.
A good showing tomorrow could also further help the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Team Championship standings. The No. 99 jumped from fifth to a tie for third with 231 points after the New Jersey win. The "Red Dragon" has also moved to within just nine points of the second place No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor.
GAINSCO's win in New Jersey on July 18 was the first for the team since late last year at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. "Getting the victory was a big deal," Gurney said. "It was a long time coming and it felt like an eternity. We hadn't won since September in the previous year. It was great to finally get one."^a The fact that GAINSCO runs the lone Chevy and GM engine in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series may attract some NASCAR bowtie fans to the No. 99 "Red Dragon" on Saturday. "We would like to see more Chevrolets out there," Gurney said. "Maybe the rules have pushed GM products out the window the last couple of years. That is kind of an undisputable fact if you look at the car count."^a Gurney and his entire family will be heading to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next weekend where his legendary father Dan Gurney, and his equally legendary All American Racers (AAR) Eagle race cars, will be honored at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Alex Gurney is scheduled to have the rare opportunity, even for one of Dan Gurney's sons, to drive one of his father's iconic Eagle Formula 1 machines. "Going up to Laguna Seca the weekend after Watkins Glen will be a really special deal for my whole family," Alex Gurney said. "They are honoring my dad during the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and there should be 30-plus AAR Eagle racing cars there on display from the last 50 years or so, it will be amazing. I believe I'm supposed to sample a '68 Formula 1 car as well so I'm really excited about that. I've never driven anything from that era so that should be an experience!"