GURNEY, FOGARTY AND GAINSCO TEAM READY TO BEGIN TITLE RUN IN SECOND HALF OF SEASON DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 1, 2008) -- Hot on the heels of their first 2008 victory two weeks ago, reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions Alex ...
GURNEY, FOGARTY AND GAINSCO TEAM READY TO BEGIN TITLE RUN IN SECOND HALF OF SEASON
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (July 1, 2008) -- Hot on the heels of their first 2008 victory two weeks ago, reigning Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will be looking for consecutive victories in both the Rolex Series and the Brumos Porsche 250 when the second half of the 2008 season begins Thursday night under the lights at Daytona International Speedway.
The Brumos Porsche 250 At Daytona (Live on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET) begins the final seven-race run to the 2008 Rolex Series titles, and GAINSCO closed the first half of the year in style in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, June 21. The team scored its first victory of 2008 in a come-from-behind thriller in wet and wild conditions. The win was the team's second-straight Mid-Ohio EMCO Gears Classic victory and GAINSCO will look for another first-place repeat performance in Thursday's Brumos Porsche 250, which they also won last year.
"We're on a bit of a high after the Mid-Ohio win," Gurney said. "I think we finally got our mojo back. We were definitely in a position to win several times this year and it's a big relief that it finally all came together. With half the season still to run, we feel like the championship is definitely still there for the taking."
The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley is now second in the team championship with 188 points. The same number of points also has Gurney and Fogarty with the second-highest total in the Rolex Series Driver Championship. Leaders Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley now have 225 points in both championships after finishing a season's worst eighth at Mid-Ohio.
"The Mid-Ohio win was important on many levels, such as points, confidence and inspiration," Fogarty said. "For sure, it gives us more fire as we head to Daytona, but like last year I feel like we have to win every race from here on out to best position ourselves for the championship. You can go through all of the points scenarios and come up with infinite iterations on how the championship could fall, or you can just take the caveman approach to math and say 'if we win, and the 01 does not, that is good.'"
A repeat win in the Brumos Porsche 250 is far from out of the question. In GAINSCO's last two races on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course, the team won the 2007 Brumos race from the pole and scored a second-place finish in this year's season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Gurney was also on the pole for the 2007 Rolex 24 and led the opening laps before early contact with a GT car knocked the team from contention.
"Last year we had a very good car at Daytona for the short race," Gurney said. "We ran a very low down force setup and still had a great balance. The difference this year to last is that it seems a lot of teams and drivers have stepped up their game in a big way. We'd like to win the rest of the races, and Daytona will be a big challenge on that front, but the GAINSCO team is up to it."
Fogarty also feels that some of the competitors may have closed the gap on GAINSCO's championship team, but cautions any of them on ruling the red No. 99 out for the win.
"We have had a good run at Daytona recently," Fogarty said. "We have found a balance with the car that will produce solid lap times, but we were also seeing some big speed out of some of the competition at the Rolex 24. They couldn't hang for the around-the-clock format but the sprint race is going to be a little different. I still think we have a very good shot at winning and I know Pontiac and our engine builders have been hard at work coming up with a motor that is suited to the high banks and long straights of DIS."
The recent Mid-Ohio victory and last year's Brumos Porsche 250 triumph were both come-from-behind wins for the GAINSCO team. Fogarty spun early in near flood-like conditions at Mid-Ohio. The No. 99 dropped to a distant 23rd overall but Fogarty climbed back to 10th before handing over to Gurney who charged to the front for the win. In last year's Brumos race, Fogarty was running up front when Grand-Am assessed him with an avoidable contact penalty. "Jon got a very strange penalty call but came back through the field beautifully," said Gurney, who drove the No. 99 to the finish. "Comeback wins like Mid-Ohio and Daytona last year are satisfying, but ultimately a win is a win," Fogarty said. "The series doesn't award extra points for coming from behind, so I will take a flag-to-flag victory anytime. Taking control from the start is how you want to race."--. Another thing the Mid-Ohio race and Thursday's Brumos Porsche 250 may have in common is rain. It has rained heavily in the central Florida area for the last week and the precipitation is not expected to let up throughout the coming July 4th Holiday weekend. Tuesday forecasts for Thursday call for a 50% chance of showers --.
Before heading to the "World Center of Racing" the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings team will first make a Wednesday stop at a nearby facility known for some out-of-this-world performance. Gurney and Fogarty will join team owners Bob and Linda Stallings and Team Engineer Kyle Brannan for a behind-the-scenes tour of the NASA Kennedy Space Center facility in Cape Canaveral, which is roughly 60 miles south of Daytona Beach. "I'm hoping if we're nice they might clue us in to the latest and greatest in lightweight materials for us to use in our race car," Gurney said. "Or maybe they'll have a solution for us on how to keep the inside of a Daytona Prototype cool." Gurney is looking forward to getting a close-up look Space Shuttle Discovery, which is the most recent orbiter to have returned from a mission. Fogarty is hoping to catch a glimpse of the gigantic mobile platform that slowly crawls each shuttle to the launch pad. "The Space Shuttle program has always interested me and I used to skip school as kid to watch it launch on TV," Fogarty said. "More than the Space Shuttle, I am interested in seeing the huge tracked platform that can move it around. I have always been more of a terrestrial guy. Alex is more like ET."
About GAINSCO Auto Insurance
The primary sponsor of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO Auto Insurance (Amex:GAN), a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer that distributes policies through a network of thousands of independent agents across Sunbelt states. GAINSCO uses its "Are You Driven?®" motorsports sponsorship and marketing campaign to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.
About GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing has been committed to excellence in road racing since its formation in 2001. The team, lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype are the reigning Champions of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The team is supported by GAINSCO Auto Insurance, powered by Pontiac and partnered with GM Racing, Riley Technologies and Puma. For more information, visit www.GAINSCOracing.com.