Vasser joins GAINSCO team's title fight in pivotal Sunchaser finale 1996 Champ Car champion partners with Gurney, Fogarty for Rolex Series title-deciding race LEWISVILLE, Tex. (Sept. 4, 2007) -- Bringing his veteran perspective back to a young...
Vasser joins GAINSCO team's title fight in pivotal Sunchaser finale
1996 Champ Car champion partners with Gurney, Fogarty for Rolex Series title-deciding race
LEWISVILLE, Tex. (Sept. 4, 2007) -- Bringing his veteran perspective back to a young team on the rise, 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser will return to the cockpit of GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's championship-leading No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley Daytona Prototype next week in the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season finale, the Sunchaser 1000k at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah on Sept. 15.
Vasser rejoins the driving team of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who have torched the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype field in the second half of the season, rebounding from a disappointing DNF in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona to capture seven wins, including six in the last eight races. Gurney and Fogarty now hold a slim one-point lead heading into the 14th and final round, and Vasser will play a vital role in the team's quest for driver and team championships. He's relishing the opportunity to fight for a points crown.
"I'm very excited to be back in the GAINSCO 99 with Alex and Jon, and I'm extremely proud of what they've done this season," Vasser said. "I'm thrilled to be part of a championship run and I'm just looking forward to getting back in the car next week."
The road-racing veteran, who racked up 10 wins, nine poles and 33 podiums during an illustrious 15-year Champ Car career and scored an IMSA GTP Lights victory in the 1993 24 Hours of Daytona, has been a part of the GAINSCO team since last year's Rolex 24 At Daytona, and is team owner Bob Stallings' hand-picked "go-to guy" for the series' endurance events.
"I'm really stoked about Jimmy's return to the driver's seat of the 99 car," Stallings said. "He has been a leading member of the team since he first got in. At last year's Salt Lake City race, he was really quick as usual and, just as importantly, a steadying influence on the whole operation. Jimmy's done it all, and the entire team enjoys having him around."
Gurney and Fogarty echoed their team owner's thoughts, citing Vasser's experience and mindset as being perfectly suited to the role of third driver.
"To me, Jimmy is the ideal addition for our last race -- he's experienced, quick, smart, doesn't make mistakes and can handle all the pressure that will surely be on his shoulders as we make a run for the Rolex Series championships," Gurney said. "He ran very well last year at Salt Lake and we are all really looking forward to having him back."
Fogarty agreed. "It's hard to think of a better guy (than Jimmy) when you're in a championship battle," he said. "He's been in many, won plenty and he's got nothing to prove -- a total team player and the right guy for the job. Even though he's been out of the car since the 24, I know he wants to win the championship as much as anybody else on the team."
As an interested observer to the GAINSCO team's spectacular rise this year to become a top contender and a championship threat, Vasser said he couldn't be happier for the squad, which is in its second full season of professional competition.
"Watching Bob's team grow to this level has been extremely satisfying for me, and I'll be showing up at Salt Lake prepared to do the job of winning the Sunchaser and the championship," Vasser said.