GAINSCO team goes quick again as Gurney, Fogarty heat up Barber Park LEEDS, Ala.-- The number 99 has become a familiar sight atop Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series scoreboards around the country -- and today's pair of practice sessions at Barber...
GAINSCO team goes quick again as Gurney, Fogarty heat up Barber Park
LEEDS, Ala.-- The number 99 has become a familiar sight atop Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series scoreboards around the country -- and today's pair of practice sessions at Barber Motorsports Park for Sunday's Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant proved to be no exception. This morning, Alex Gurney recorded the second-quickest time of the day in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley, lapping the 2.3-mile road course in 1 minute, 22.487 seconds at an average speed of 100.379 mph. Even more remarkably, Gurney set the time in a car that both he and co-driver Jon Fogarty have been struggling to get a handle on, after testing revealed that last year's pole-winning setup needed substantial changes. Both drivers have been fighting understeer, and GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing engineer Kyle Brannan has gone through several shock, spring and suspension tweaks in an effort to hit the Riley's sweet spot. Tomorrow, Gurney and Fogarty will get one more chance to fine-tune the setup on the 99 car before Alex takes to the track at 1:30 p.m. for a 15-minute Daytona Prototype qualifying session, setting the grid for Sunday's two-hour, 45-minute showdown.
"I'm pretty happy with the GAINSCO Pontiac. Jon and I have been chasing the setup a bit but it seems like everyone's pretty much got the same push we do. In the second session we chose to save tires, so we've got an extra set of stickers for practice tomorrow and that should help. There's so many good teams out there right now -- the No. 39, the No. 10 and the No. 76 -- that qualifying is going to be a real shootout. I'm going to do what I can to get the pole here again for the GAINSCO team and we think we've got a good shot at it."
"The consensus around the garage seems to be that everyone's struggling to some degree with a push, and the nature of the Barber Park track seems to lend itself to that. Alex and Kyle and I have been trying to address the problem but it doesn't seem like we've done much yet -- the good news is that at least we know we're not the only one. A real heavy downpour hit after the session, and that could change the track even further, which is not what we wanted to see. I never got a clear lap this afternoon and Alex didn't either, which tells you something about the way this race is going to be -- a real traffic jam everywhere. Tomorrow, we'd really like to get a setup that makes the GAINSCO car consistently and comfortably fast. Repeating our pole from last year would be great and we think we can do it, but it's going to be tough."