Focus on speed, consistency pays off for GAINSCO team in Daytona test DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2007) -- This morning in testing at Daytona International Speedway, Alex Gurney put the Grand-Am world on notice -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing...
Focus on speed, consistency pays off for GAINSCO team in Daytona test
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2007) -- This morning in testing at Daytona International Speedway, Alex Gurney put the Grand-Am world on notice -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing is out to win the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series championship. With a blistering 1m, 43.730s lap of the 3.56-mile speedway road course in his No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, Alex laid down the second-quickest time overall out of the 28 Daytona Prototypes participating in this weekend's Roar Before The Rolex 24 pre-season test.
But just as important, Gurney and his co-drivers Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser put together a solid, drivable setup for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance team, giving the trio a burst of confidence with three weeks to go before the grueling, season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 27-28.
"The first session went really well, and I was really happy with the balance of the GAINSCO Pontiac -- that helped me go real fast," Gurney said. "Not only are we fast, but we know we have to think about the long haul, and we've got the kind of setup that will be comfortable in the race. I think the Rolex 24 is going to be nutty with so many good drivers and cars all trying to be up front, but it's a ridiculously long race, so we've got to be patient and not try to win the thing in the first couple of hours."
After spending two days developing the 99 machine, Fogarty took the day off, leaving all the driving to Gurney. He's pleased at the team's progress and cautiously confident about the team's chances in its second go at the Rolex 24.
"We're in as good shape as we can be for a 24-hour race," Fogarty said. "The car seems to be right up there in terms of lap times and it's drivable and, so far, durable. We made a lot of progress, and now we've just got to get it done in the race."
Team owner Bob Stallings is heading back to Dallas happy for another reason. Unlike last year's Daytona Test Days -- which ended in a crash for the Bob Stallings Racing team -- this year, the GAINSCO car is returning to the shops in one piece. That performance, he said, should be a metaphor for the team's goals in the 2007 Rolex 24 -- keeping the car on track and out of the pits.
"We're going back with a complete car that's not missing any parts. That's a big deal for us," Stallings said. "Clearly, we could have put down the fastest lap every day if we wanted to, but that's not our focus. Our focus was putting together a drivable car, getting feedback to [team engineer] Kyle Brannan and making sure we understand what the GAINSCO car can and cannot do. Our three drivers did an excellent job this weekend -- they talk to each other well, they communicate with Kyle well and I couldn't be happier with them. We're ready to go racing."
The GAINSCO Boys will return to the team's Lewisville, Texas shops to prepare the GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac for the 2007 Rolex 24 At Daytona, which kicks off with practice and qualifying on Thursday, Jan. 25. The 45th-annual endurance classic gets the green flag at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, Jan. 27 and runs to the checkered flag at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 28.