Gurney, Fogarty put title in play with season's second victory at The Glen GAINSCO team's sixth win puts duo just four points out of championship lead WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2007) -- Tonight, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty had one goal in...
Gurney, Fogarty put title in play with season's second victory at
GAINSCO team's sixth win puts duo just four points out of championship lead
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2007) -- Tonight, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty had one goal in mind: winning the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season's final three races, which would secure for them the team and driver championships. They're now one step closer, as the duo piloted their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley to victory in the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen. The win, which was the team's second of the year at Watkins Glen International and a series-record-tying sixth of the season, came in dominating fashion, as Fogarty led the race's first 33 laps from the pole before pitting to hand the car over to Gurney, who left the pits on Lap 34 with the lead and would hold it all the way until the checkered flag fell at Lap 82. Combined, they led all but one lap of the 2.45-mile circuit. With two rounds remaining, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing now trails championship co-leaders Wayne Taylor Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing by just four points.
"The GAINSCO team had a perfect day -- it was a great team effort from everyone," Gurney said. "We needed to get this win for the championship, and to get it we had to be flawless on the track and in the pits. That's exactly what we got today -- I don't have a single complaint other than a couple lapper cars giving me a bit of grief. We're right in the championship hunt now with two races to go, and we're going to keep giving it all we've got."
Fogarty, whose sixth consecutive pole set up the team's dominating run, said the team tried out a couple new setup tweaks this weekend, all of which paid off on race day.
"We rolled out for the race with the same car we qualified with, and it was just perfect all race long," Fogarty said. "Our engineer, Kyle Brannan, had a few ideas to play with -- we went a bit of a different direction than we have in the past on the short course, and those changes made the day really a lot easier for Alex and I. We led the whole time -- it can't get much better than that."
The race was punctuated by three full-course cautions, closing the field up behind the GAINSCO Pontiac each time. But on every restart, Gurney and Fogarty could drive away from the field on the opening lap under green, creating gaps of over a second with near-impunity and then drawing further away with each passing lap. Gurney said the team works hard to set up a car that's not just fast, but that's fast right away.
"Our car works very well, and it's right there instantly," Gurney said. "We actually practice restarts in the practice sessions, because we know one of the key parts of the race is being fast right away."
For team owner Bob Stallings, his team's performance was once again exactly what he was looking for -- skilled, disciplined and unstoppably fast. With the team recording its fifth win in seven races, and podium finishes in the other two, Stallings said momentum and confidence are on the GAINSCO squad's side. "What I said coming into tonight was that what we had to do was have a perfect run --from the crew, the engineer and the drivers. The GAINSCO team did just that," Stallings said. "Kyle made sure that nobody had anything for us on the track, the crew put together an awesome pit stop and Alex and Jon drove smart and drove fast. I can't say enough about the crew -- I'm just so proud of the effort they've put in with all these back-to-back races. They've put their heads down and delivered. That's what we have to do the rest of the season -- deliver. There's two races left in the season and we're going in to win both races and the championship."
Gurney and Fogarty are equally committed to victory in the last two races -- the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on Aug. 25, followed by the Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Sept. 15. With the points gap closed from nine to four points, there are now several scenarios that could see the GAINSCO team capture the team and driver titles, but neither driver is thinking conservatively. The mantra is, "Win."
"The next two victories are the ones we want the most, because they'll get us the championship and that's always been our goal," Fogarty said. "I made a bit of an error in judgment at Sonoma last year and it put us out, so I really want to come back and make amends for that in a couple weeks. It's sort of my home track and Alex is fast there as well, so I think it's going to be a good race for us."
"We're not worried about what the other teams are doing, we're just going to go out and go for the wins, because we know that if we do that, we win the title," Gurney said. "At Sonoma, I expect more of the same -- the same speed and the same challengers. We had a great car there last year and it should be even better now."