Jon Fogarty Shines At Monterrey Grand Prix Luis Diaz Impressive With Fifth Place Finish Alex Gurney "Struck" With Misfortune MONTERREY, Mexico (March 10, 2000) - - Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., showed how the experience he gained last...
Jon Fogarty Shines At Monterrey Grand Prix
Luis Diaz Impressive With Fifth Place Finish
Alex Gurney "Struck" With Misfortune
MONTERREY, Mexico (March 10, 2000) - - Jon Fogarty, of Portola Valley, Calif., showed how the experience he gained last year in the Dayton Indy Lights Championship with Dorricott Racing was all "upside" by scoring his first career win for Dorricott Racing in the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Tecate Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix, Saturday, March 9.
Fogarty, who started fourth in the Thomas Fogarty Winery & Vineyards Swift 014.a seized the lead on the sixth lap from teammate and polesitter, Luis Diaz, of Mexico City, then held off a late charge from Scotland's Ryan Dalziel to win by 0.884-seconds. It was the first career Atlantic race for Fogarty and the 2001 CART Dayton Indy Lights champions.
Dalziel trailed Fogarty by as much as 7.397-seconds late in the race but whittled away at the lead and closed to within 1.581-seconds by the final lap. Dalziel nearly caught Fogarty midway through the last lap, but was never able to mount a serious challenge.
Fogarty's victory was even more impressive when considering how he artfully maneuvered 32 laps (67.2 miles) through a 23-car field in the midst of a meteorological nightmare. The start of the race was delayed for almost an hour due to heavy rain showers that began soaking the track a little more than an hour before the scheduled 3:10 p.m. (CT) start time. Fogarty nonetheless avoided literal ponds of standing water while remaining unfazed by a steady sheet of rain and occasional driving wind gusts.
"The rain made it kind of an improvisational game with looking for grip and adapting to changing conditions," said Fogarty. "Early it was slippery - everywhere. Once it began to dry, certain portions were better than others. Certain corners were good. Certain corners were bad. You had to be careful with each lap to find the drive line or it else you'd slide off course."
Alex Gurney, of Newport Beach, Calif., started third but move into second place within a couple of laps. He gave way to Danziel in turn six on lap 15 but real trouble was yet to come. After spinning early in the race, outside polesitter Joey Hand, of Sacramento, Calif., recovered enough to catch Gurney but the interception wasn't as smooth as Hand car struck collided nose-to-tail with Gurney's Behr-Castrol Swift 014.a on lap 20. Gurney suffered severe rear wing damage and was forced to retire from the race. Hand, however, continued despite damage to his front left wing and finished in third place.
"I had touched the wall a little at the start of lap 20 coming onto the front straight-away," said Gurney. "The car got a little bit loose and touched the wall with my right rear, and then my right front. I was slow through the next set of corners. Coming up to the hairpin, I protected the inside line. When it was time to hit the brakes I lined up on the right, set up for the corner, and Hand hit me hard from behind. The contact ripped apart by rear wing and forced me back to the pits."
The race was less eventful for Diaz. Diaz held positions ranging from the lead to dropping as low as eighth place. Fogarty found a narrow line around him on lap six and Gurney used a similar maneuver to pass Diaz on lap seven. After dropping another couple of positions, Gurney's misfortune became Diaz's opportunity as it opened the door for recovery and a fifth place finish. He was also awarded a $1,000 bonus for winning the pole.
"I don't have much experience in the rain," said Diaz. "I was trying to keep the car on a good line and avoid mistakes. I couldn't fight Jon off. His moves were good. Then I misread some moves from others including Alex and lost a few more positions. After that I was able to hold my own and earn a top-five finish. That helped me recapture a few more championship points."
Fogarty scored 21 championship points including 20 points for the victory and one bonus point for leading the most laps. He also assumed the lead for Toyota Atlantic Rookie-of-the-Year honors. Diaz is fourth place in the driver standings after Monterrey with 13 points including two bonus points for leading each of two qualifying sessions.
Dorricott Racing is a year-round professional motorsports organization with its race shop located in Bakersfield, Calif. Race results, team, and sponsor information are available on Dorricott Racing's official web site, http://www.dorricottracing.com.
Round two of the 12-race Toyota Atlantic will be at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 14.