Blackhawk Motorsports to Field Daytona Prototype for Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 22, 2005) -- The rapidly-growing Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series welcomed another new Daytona Prototype team as Blackhawk...
Blackhawk Motorsports to Field Daytona Prototype for Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 22, 2005) -- The rapidly-growing Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series welcomed another new Daytona Prototype team as Blackhawk Motorsports owner/driver Bob Stallings announced today that his team will field a Pontiac-powered Riley for himself and co-driver Alex Gurney beginning with the inaugural U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the weekend of April 29-May 1.
The primary sponsor of the No. 99 Blackhawk Motorsports Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO INC. ("Gainsco"), a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer which distributes policies through a network of independent agents in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, and California. Gainsco is a growing company in the automobile insurance industry and plans to use the racing program as a central feature of its new "Are You Driven?" marketing theme.
"We are excited about the opportunities our sponsorship of Blackhawk Motorsports will create for us," said Glenn W. Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gainsco. "We believe this sponsorship will provide a unique platform for our Company to build brand awareness and advance our distribution strategies. We have a renewed focus at Gainsco after our recent restructuring, and we believe this integrated marketing program will be an exciting component of our business development plan."
Additional sponsorship is provided by Wells Fargo Private Banking. "Wells Fargo Private Banking is pleased to sponsor Bob Stallings' Blackhawk Motorsports Daytona Prototype," said Sheryl Latham, Wells Fargo Private Client Services regional manager for Dallas. "We have worked closely with Bob and are confident that this sponsorship will give us the opportunity to showcase our specialized products and services for those with complex financial needs." Other sponsors are expected to be announced in the near future.
Alex Gurney, the son of racing legend Dan Gurney, began his professional racing career in 1997 in the Skip Barber Formula Dodge Series winning 10 of 14 races. Later that year, he was named the Team Green Academy winner after a competition between the top 25 up-and-coming American racers. From 1998 to 2000, he had successful stints in both the Barber Dodge Pro Series as well as the Toyota Atlantic Championship, earning pole positions and podiums along the way. In 2001, he ventured to England to drive on the highly-competitive British F3 circuit, competing against such notables as current Formula 1 racers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson and scoring eight top-10 finishes. He returned to the Toyota Atlantic circuit in 2002 with Dorricott Racing, claiming third overall in an intensely fought championship.
Over the past two years, Gurney has concentrated on being a successful driving coach and budding race engineer working with the 2004 Toyota Atlantic championship-winning team, Pacific Coast Motorsports. Gurney also served as a part time driving coach and test driver with Blackhawk Motorsports, playing a key role in the development of team owner/driver Bob Stallings and his success in winning the Atlantic National Championship at the 2004 SCCA runoffs.
"Blackhawk believes Alex's addition to the team as a driver will make Blackhawk a serious contender in any race it enters," Stallings said. "Alex is an All-American and without question one of the finest young racing talents in America today, proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
"It's been a pleasure working with Bob Stallings over the last couple years," Gurney said. "I feel extremely fortunate to be teaming with him and the Blackhawk team in the Rolex Sports Car Series. With the support of Gainsco and Wells Fargo, I am truly excited about our prospects."
For Stallings, the foray into the Rolex Series will be his first exposure to professional racing after a relatively brief but highly-successful stint in SCCA competition. Having started competition in 2001, Stallings won the Kohler 2004 SCCA National Championship Runoff at Mid-Ohio in the Formula Atlantic class, capping a career in the SCCA Southern Pacific Division. He was a consistent winner and podium finisher, while setting track records at Thunderhill Raceway, Texas World Speedway, Laguna Seca and California Speedway.
"Alex and I both want to thank Gainsco and Wells Fargo for providing us the opportunity to drive this awesome No. 99 race car in what has quickly become the most talked about road racing series in the country," Stallings said. "We are also very excited to introduce our newest team member and technical director, Kyle Brannan, as well as our long-time crew chief and team manager, Mark Lubin. We are very lucky to have these two gentlemen running the show, along with support from long-time members Ryan Reid and Bryan Howard."
Kyle Brannan, the team's technical director, is a mechanical engineer by degree from California State University, Sacramento. Brannan has nearly 20 years of motorsports experience, including two Toyota Atlantic championships and several race wins in Champ Car and Indy Lights. Brannan joins Blackhawk Motorsports from the Toyota Atlantic series, where he spent the last six seasons as race engineer/project manager, amassing 21 victories and 22 pole positions. A native of Sonoma, Calif., Brannan resides in Gardnerville, Nev.
Crew chief and team manager for the new Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing Team is Mark Lubin, who has filled those roles for Blackhawk Motorsports since its inception in 2001. Lubin's prior experience includes highly-successful relationships with the A.J. Foyt Racing team, winning races with Kenny Brack, Billy Boat, Airton Dare and others.
"Bob has done a good job putting together the right people, equipment and sponsors to compete in the series," Lubin said. "Alex and Bob are used to running up front, so we have our work cut out for us."
The team expects to take delivery of its new Daytona Prototype in early April. Fans can follow the team's progress during the racing season on its website www.blackhawkmotorsports.net or at www.gainsco.com.