GAINSCO AND GURNEY'S MORNING LAP GOOD ENOUGH FOR SECOND TOP TIME OF THE DAY BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2008) -- Defending Porsche 250 race winners and reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings were on the pace in...
GAINSCO AND GURNEY'S MORNING LAP GOOD ENOUGH FOR SECOND TOP TIME OF THE DAY
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 18, 2008) -- Defending Porsche 250 race winners and reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings were on the pace in the opening day of practice at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday where Alex Gurney's morning session lap of 1:21.368 (101.760 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley was the second quickest time of the day.
Gurney and co-driver Jon Fogarty led 63 of 99 laps to win last year's Porsche 250 and will be looking for their second win a row on the scenic 16-turn, 2.3-mile Barber circuit in Sunday's 109-lap/250-mile race. The green flag is scheduled to drop at 2 p.m. local time Sunday and can be seen live on SPEED at 3 p.m. ET.
Shaking off typically warm Alabama temperatures in the mid-90s, Gurney and Fogarty were fast in both of Friday's practice sessions. While increasingly hotter temperatures prevented the field from posting quicker times in the day's afternoon practice, Gurney's lap of 1:22.478 (100.390 mph) was fifth fastest in that session.
"My head is still in the afternoon session," Gurney said. "We did struggle a bit. I think maybe everybody is on a different tire schedule. It does count for quite a bit when you go to newer ones. We are just trying to find a balance that lasts the longest over a full stint. We were happy with the car this morning. We were fairly quick but there was a lot of quick guys up there and it looks like the Dallara and the Lola were quite quick also. It is going to be a tough race for sure."
The heat didn't stop Gurney from turning in an iron-man performance in last year's Porsche 250 victory. Both he and Fogarty are preparing for another sweltering race on Sunday.
"Last year my guys were nice enough to put me in after the first 10 minutes of the race," Gurney said. "Jon ran the first 10 minutes and I ran the rest of the way. It was a long, very hot day and I felt like that was really good training for me. I have that in my mind for this year's race. It's just hot and you get used to it. We do the best we can with the inside of the car to try and make it cooler for us. It makes a big difference keeping the driver cool and that is really hard to do in these cars. You get too hot and you start to make mistakes. We are doing all we can to prevent that."
Fogarty is equally as focused on what the extreme heat does to the track conditions and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley.
"You're in the corners a long time here and we are just searching for balance," Fogarty said. "We don't have it yet. There seems to be degradation of the rear tires so we are just going to work on a balance for the long haul. It's posing a challenge thus far but we've got some good ideas. We will get it, and we will get it tomorrow.