The defending Montreal 200 winners, GAINSCO led the opening race laps after Fogarty won a record fourth-pole in Friday qualifying but later lost a few spots and some valuable track position after the race’s first pair of pit stops. Gurney took over for Fogarty during the second visit to the pits and then had to drive the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” to the finish on old Continental Tires when the team opted not to change rubber in the third and final stop.
“It was a very tough race for sure, we had to keep a strong pace the whole time, and it was just a shame we got a little bit behind on one of our first stops,” Gurney said. “I had a problem when I got in the car, I lost maybe a second or two, it was a good stop by the crew, but from that point we knew we were going to be in trouble. We were kind of stuck there in fifth place for a long time and when it came time to do the next stop to go to the end, the guys decided the only way we were going to make up positions was to stay on the same tires. I didn’t necessarily like it but it was the right strategy decision and it worked out OK.”
Gurney drove the GAINSCO/BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 across the finish line behind the race winning No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. David Donohue was just behind Gurney at the finish in third in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototype he co-drove with Canadian driver Paul Tracy.
“I just tried to manage the tires the rest of the way in,” Gurney said. “It was really tough, especially the last 10 laps, David was catching me real fast and I was hoping the laps would tick off faster because he was all over me. Even on the last lap coming out of the hairpin I was just wheel spinning all of the way out. He had a pretty good run and we had an eventful last chicane, had a little contact, but was lucky to come out in second place. Going into the race, we figured we could win it if we stayed up front through the pit sequences. In the end, second place is pretty good, but I think the 01 was the strongest car today.”
The runner-up showing was the third of the season for the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team that also finished second at Barber Motorsports Park in March and in June at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“It would have been tough for sure, even if we would have managed to maintain our track position, to stay in front of the 01,” Fogarty said. “They seemed to be very strong, we were getting it done through the twisty bits, they were getting it done, I think, a little bit everywhere but they definitely had us down the straightaways. It’s hard around here, you are just kind of exposed in those situations, but the team did a great job and Alex did an awesome job too.”
Saturday’s finished added to an impressive record for GAINSCO at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve that includes last year’s race win, another second-place in 2010 and third-place showings in 2007 and 2009. In addition to his record four-consecutive poles at Montreal, GAINSCO and Fogarty have five total to their credit at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after also qualifying in the top spot in the inaugural GRAND-AM Rolex Series race at in 2007.
“I have been fortunate to start up front several times here, but you kind of start on the outside of that bend that leads into Turn 1,” Fogarty said. “Last year from the pole that didn’t work out for me, I lost a position, so I really wanted to make sure I got a jump this time and was able to slot in ahead of Memo in the 01. I was fortunate enough to be able to do that, we settled into a pace where were quite competitive with the 01, getting it done at different places, but ultimately we were able to stay within each other’s grasp.”
Fogarty led the race’s opening eight laps until the first of the race’s two cautions, the only laps the No. 99 led all day.
“On the first stop it was real tight in the pits, definitely a drag race coming out, the 01 just got me and we lost a position and fell to second,” Fogarty said. “We started trying to conserve fuel and figure out our strategy from there and things started getting a little mixed up in the field at that point with different teams on different strategies. After the second stop, we knew we had to roll the dice to make up some track position and it worked. Now we head to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where we have always been strong and hope to get our first win of the season.”
Next up for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series is the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, September 7 – 9. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty are the two-time defending Continental Tire Sports Car Festival winners at Laguna Seca, and this year’s race can be seen live on SPEED on Sunday, September 9, at 3 p.m. EDT/12 p.m. PDT.
Source: Bob Stallings Racing