CONVINCING WIN IN PORSCHE 250 IS SECOND VICTORY AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK IN THREE YEARS BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty took a co-share of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car...
CONVINCING WIN IN PORSCHE 250 IS SECOND VICTORY AT BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK IN THREE YEARS
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty took a co-share of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Championship points lead with a series-leading third 2009 win Sunday in the Porsche 250 presented by Legacy Credit Union at Barber Motorsports Park.
Saturday's pole-winner Fogarty and closing driver Gurney were the top lap leaders of the 2-3/4 hour race and combined to keep the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley up front for 89 of the race's 109 laps. Gurney took over for opening driver Fogarty with about 75 minutes to go and took the lead for the final time with just over an hour remaining. The race was restarted after the day's second of two full-course caution periods 20 minutes from the checkered flag and Gurney withstood heavy pressure from rival Scott Pruett in the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and a rapidly closing Michael Valiante in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley to take the win. Gurney crossed the finish line .759 of a second ahead of Pruett and he and Fogarty averaged 90.629 mph for the victory. Valiante finished third.
"This was a textbook weekend," said Gurney, who also co-drove with Fogarty and GAINSCO to victory in the 2007 Porsche 250 at Barber. "Jon had the pole and drove a perfect stint, we had good strategy and good out laps and held on to the lead just enough. The GAINSCO car was fast enough. I was struggling a little bit under braking at the end but we were out front, and that's what counts."
The No. 99 GAINSCO team and Gurney and Fogarty are now tied with Pruett, his teammate Memo Rojas and the No. 01 Ganassi squad with 231 points apiece in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series Team and Driver Championships. The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle is third in the championship with 215 points after finishing 14th at Barber.
Fogarty took the lead at the start and accounted for 48 of GAINSCO's laps led as he drove just over the first 90 minutes. He watched the final battle to the finish from the team's pit box.
"These Grand-Am races are always nail biters," said Fogarty, who joins Gurney as the only repeat Daytona Prototype winners at Barber. "The GAINSCO car was really good but the 01 car was right there and I knew from having run a pretty long stint that towards the end it was a real handful. It's just slippery out there and it made for some exciting racing and I am just really happy that the GAINSCO car was up on top of the podium."
GAINSCO's impressive weekend performance also included a major rebuild of the No. 99 GAINSCO race car on Saturday before qualifying. An alternator problem drained the electric power-steering assist while Gurney was at the wheel in Saturday morning practice. He drove into Turn 13 and was suddenly unable to steer through the high-speed turn. The No. 99 made contact with the tire barrier but the GAINSCO crew repaired the car in time for Fogarty to win the pole.
"As usual, this team came back from a pretty difficult hit," said team owner Bob Stallings. "We got the pole and even though the car wasn't perfect, we came back to win. Now here we are right back in the middle of the championship fight. We also had our independent agent partners from Georgia here for the first time as GAINSCO guests and, I mean, what a great race for them to see."
Other than a minor contact incident with a GT-class Porsche during Fogarty's stint, GAINSCO's only scare in the race was the late caution period. Gurney was cruising up front more than 14 seconds ahead of Pruett when the yellow flag closed up the field.
"I definitely didn't want that last yellow," Gurney said. "We had seen from earlier that certainly the 01 and the 6 were very quick. We were holding the gap to 14 to 15 second and just working traffic, so that last yellow I definitely did not want to see, but our car was good enough to win. I am really happy for everyone at GAINSCO and we can fight it out here in the last few races."
Four races remain on 2009's 12-event Grand-Am Rolex Series schedule and next up is the Crown Royal 200 at The Glen on Friday, August 7. The race can be seen in same-day coverage on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET.
Sunday's win was GAINSCO's third in the eight races run to date this season and broke a win tie with the GANASSI team that has a pair of victories. GAINSCO also won two of 2009's first four races with strong performances in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in April and the Verizon Festival of Speed presented by SPEEDCOM at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. They also have earned top-three podium finishes in the last three races, including third in June's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio and second place two weeks ago in the Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona in addition to the Barber victory.
The Porsche 250 also marked the 11th career Grand-Am Rolex Series victory for GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty, which extends their record as the most successful driving duo in Daytona Prototype history. Gurney and Fogarty also rank third in all-time Daytona Prototype victories, just two wins behind Angelelli.