GAINSCO/Blackhawk drivers look to extend podium streak under the lights at Daytona Beach DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2006) -- In the last five races, the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley has become one of the hottest cars on the...
GAINSCO/Blackhawk drivers look to extend podium streak under the lights at Daytona Beach
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2006) -- In the last five races, the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley has become one of the hottest cars on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series circuit, and in this evening's Brumos Porsche 250 at the Daytona International Speedway, drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will try for their third consecutive podium finish -- and potentially their first-ever Daytona Prototype victory.
The GAINSCO Pontiac has proven to be quick at the fabled 3.56-mile high-banked superspeedway road course, as Gurney qualified third for the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. But the team knows that the raw horsepower in the Porsche engine fielded by several competitors will be tough to beat, and the Riley's downforce strength on other circuits becomes a drag liability on Daytona's flat-out NASCAR straightaways.
As team owner Bob Stallings noted, "Daytona has been a unique challenge for Pontiac cars this year." Still, there's 250 miles of racing this evening, and a lot can happen in those 70 laps.
"We are excited to come into this race with a lot of momentum, but it's going to be the toughest race of the year for our Pontiac Riley package," Gurney said. "But that doesn't mean we can't finish well -- we're going to do everything we can to run up front. If we can stay clean and hang around in the huge wake of the Porsches, we'll be right there to take advantage of any mistake or opportunity that they hand us."
The Brumos Porsche 250 is unique among Rolex Series races for its compressed schedule -- practice, qualifying and the race all take place on the same day. Today's hurry-up outing puts a major premium on setup and car preparation, and Fogarty is confident that the GAINSCO Boys and team engineer Kyle Brannan will give him and Gurney a solid, driveable racecar.
"One-day events are always a challenge," Fogarty said. "This circuit just doesn't favor our package on the straightaways but the Pontiac torque should help us out in the winding infield sections, and that's where Alex and I are going to have to focus our efforts. All these close finishes are making us even hungrier for victory and I believe that with the stellar efforts of our crew, we will have a car that can fight at the front of the pack."
The non-stop action begins this morning with practice at 9:30 a.m., followed by a 15-minute qualifying session scheduled for 12:40 p.m. After NASCAR NEXTEL Cup and Busch Series cars practice in the afternoon, the Rolex Series cars will line up for the green flag on the 70-lap, 250-mile or two-hour, 45-minute Brumos Porsche 250 at 7 p.m. Eastern time. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel.