GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing fourth fastest in record cold conditions Saturday at the Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2009) -- On a record cold day delayed by morning sleet and even some snow flurries,...
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing fourth fastest in record cold conditions Saturday at the Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 9, 2009) -- On a record cold day delayed by morning sleet and even some snow flurries, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty rallied for the fourth fastest time in Saturday afternoon practice at the Roar Before The Rolex 24 At Daytona. Fogarty's final flying lap of 1:42.207 (125.393 mph) in the hour-long practice session was turned just before 5 p.m. ET with temperatures reportedly at 36 degrees. The conditions are believed to be the coldest ever in the more than 10-year history of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
"This was my first time back in the car since October," said Fogarty, who did not drive in Friday's first day of testing. "So it was a little bit of a warm-up session for me as well. I did feel like we made an improvement throughout the session but obviously we have odd track conditions, to a certain extent. We will keep working at it and we seem to be in the thick of it so it was an OK session."
Practice was delayed until 11 a.m. on Saturday but GAINSCO and several other teams opted to wait until the 4 p.m. session before taking to the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.
"The fact that we are just not getting the track time is what is aggravating," Fogarty said. "The cold itself really doesn't bother me but if it was a little drier and a little warmer this would be a more worthwhile event for us. But we are hoping for some better weather tomorrow and we will get back at it then."
Fogarty watched teammates Alex Gurney and Jimmy Vasser drive in Friday's first practice but on Saturday he was the only team driver to put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevy Riley through its paces.
"It was definitely very cold," Gurney said. "Jon ran that whole last session and just got through a couple little things. We have never really run when it was this cold and we had a couple of issues with that. We are just trying to learn a few more things and get the drivers through the car."
Night practice is next up on Saturday's Roar Before The Rolex 24 schedule but it remained to be seen if GAINSCO and other teams would take to the track in conditions that could possibly be colder than today's record daytime lows.
"You can always learn something and it is always good practice because it could be this cold in the race," Gurney said. "The cold is not really a bother and when you are in the car. It is probably really nice and warm. Standing on the pit cart there, my feet were frozen."
The two-time reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing is looking for its first Rolex 24 At Daytona victory with the proven and returning driver line up of Gurney, Fogarty, Vasser and four-time reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson. The teammates finished second in their first Rolex 24 together with GAINSCO in 2008 and backed it up with a seventh-place finish last January in the 2009 edition of America's premier endurance race. Johnson is not testing this weekend and will join the team on the opening day of the Rolex 24 on Thursday, Jan. 28.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing was the first team to file official entries for both this weekend's test and the 48th Rolex 24 At Daytona. Live coverage of the 2010 Rolex 24 on SPEED begins on Saturday, January 30, at 3 p.m. ET, prior to the 3:25 p.m. ET green flag, and lasts until 10 p.m. ET. Coverage resumes at 7 a.m. ET on Sunday and will run to the finish at 4 p.m. ET.