Mechanical gremlins continue to affect Fogarty and Gurney's efforts.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing qualifies seventh for Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype
Suspected brake issues keep four-time Watkins Glen pole winners from posting a better qualifying effort
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 30, 2012) – GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty qualified a disappointing seventh Saturday for tomorrow’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen after encountering some suspected brake issues in this morning’s 15-minute qualifying session on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International road course.
Round 8 of 13 races on the 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen can be seen live on SPEED tomorrow, Sunday, July 1, at 11 a.m. EDT/8 a.m. PDT.
GAINSCO, Fogarty and their teammate Alex Gurney paced the field in Friday’s three practice sessions but could do no better than the inside Row 4 starting spot in Saturday qualifying. Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” never really had a chance to make a bid for a third consecutive 2012 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series pole and the team’s fifth career top starting spot at The Glen.
“It’s certainly not what I expected because the car really didn’t feel too bad,” Fogarty said. "I was struggling a little bit on the brakes and we are definitely going to explore that route. We have new ones on there, and usually that is to our advantage, but maybe there was a shift in the brake balance or something. It just didn’t give me the confidence that I needed on the brake pedal. I am kind of scratching my head because I thought we were getting through the corners just fine and the balance of the car, once we were there, was not too bad. So we are going to start looking at data and see what we can see.”
Gurney didn’t drive Saturday but is expected to fill his usual role as GAINSCO’s “closer” in tomorrow’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“Jon struggled with the brakes a little bit and had some lock ups,” Gurney said. “We did go to some different brakes this morning, so maybe there is something there, but it doesn’t seem like we have the outright pace now that everybody showed everything they have got. There is some really good speed out there and we could use some pace ourselves.”
Recent GRAND-AM Road Racing rule changes have given the Ford and BMW powered cars a bit of an engine RPM advantage. Scott Pruett’s pole-winning BMW Riley lapped one second faster than the No. 99 that had qualified no lower than fourth at The Glen the last three seasons. In addition to trouble shooting the suspected brake issues, the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing crew will also work on some setups Saturday night that could help the No. 99 close the gap on the quicker competition.
“I am sure the crew guys, it is a six hour race, they have a lot of things to look at to make sure we are ready to go the distance, but it appears as though we need to find some pace for sure,” Fogarty said. “So, I will sit down with Alex and our Engineer John Ward and we will scour through the data and pick out what we can. We will try to make a guess as to what will help and try to run it in the warm-up tomorrow.”
Gurney was also quick to point out the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen is indeed an endurance race.
“The qualifying doesn’t matter that much,” Gurney said. “It is six hours, a long race, and we have some pretty good experience in this type of race and at Watkins Glen.
GAINSCO, Fogarty and Gurney, the 2007 and 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Champions, are still looking for their first 2012 race win in what has been a tough season of incredibly bad luck. Mechanical and contact issues have sidelined the No. 99 “Red Dragon” in three of the year’s first seven races but GAINSCO has been competitive at every event.