Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty were the class of the field this weekend in the Rolex Sports Car Series Six Hours of the Glen, held at the historic Watkins Glen International road course. Taking turns behind the wheel of the Bob Stallings Racing ...
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty were the class of the field this weekend in the Rolex Sports Car Series Six Hours of the Glen, held at the historic Watkins Glen International road course. Taking turns behind the wheel of the Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, the two drivers topped the time charts in both practice sessions and qualified on the pole, with Gurney throwing down a blindingly fast lap that was more than half a second quicker than the next fastest qualifier - Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett. Then Gurney and Fogarty avoided the problems that have plagued them throughout the year, dominating on restarts, leading the most laps, setting the race's fastest lap, and taking their second win of the season.
"Our pit stops went really good and our strategy finally worked out okay," said Gurney. "Our car was just too good. It was really good all weekend and I am really glad we capitalized on it because I almost blew it there at the beginning of the race."
Gurney led from the drop of the green flag and was so fast in the early going that at one point he held a 17-second lead over second place. But on Lap 34 he accidentally drove through the grass in the Glen's inner loop chicane. "I came up on a GT car going into the chicane and I was moving to the inside and I figured that because I was the leader he would give me some room," he explained. "But it looked like he was the king of the late breakers there and he committed to going to the inside and I just misjudged it."
Gurney's car was not damaged, but several clumps of grass ended up on the opening to his radiator and began to cause the car to overheat. He pitted one lap later so his pit crew could remove the grass. He rejoined the race well outside of the top-10, but was able to work his way back up to second before he handed the car over to Fogarty on Lap 59. Fogarty continued Gurney's march to the front, regaining the lead from David Donohue's Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar on Lap 92 and holding it until Gurney hopped back into the car on Lap 126, under the race's eighth yellow flag. On the ensuing re-start, Gurney made quick work of both Max Angelelli, who was penalized for jumping the green flag, and Ian James and resumed the lead on Lap 140. He relinquished the lead briefly during a pit stop on Lap 143, but swiped the lead from Pruett's Lexus Riley on Lap 152 and held on to take the win.
Pruett and his teammate, Memo Rojas, ended up second despite going down two laps early in the race due to a spin and losing more ground later because of a flat tire. "We were just trying to get our car back up front," said Pruett, who now holds a seven-point lead over Angelelli in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship. "We got our lap back and got back on the lead lap. Then Memo had a cut tire and we fell down another lap and came back again. At that point in time, we didn't know where things were going to shake out. It wasn't until the last two hours when I got back in. I came out in tenth and worked my way to fifth and then did some more pit stops and passed some more guys. Then we were in a position in the closing laps and we were just a little out of sequence with our stops because of all of the yellows, so we gambled on the fuel a little and it played into our hands. And that's how we got the lead near the end. But (the winners) had a great car today."
The SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Angelelli, Wayne Taylor, and Jonathan Cochet came home in third even though it was penalized two different times for passing before the green flag on restarts. "We had a good car today," said Angelelli after his fifth podium finish of the year. "Without the penalties I think I could have won the race or come pretty close. They had a great car that was difficult to overtake from behind. But if I had been in front of them, that would have been a different story."
John Pew and Ian James in the Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley and the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley of Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson rounded out the top-five in the headlining Daytona Prototype class.
In the GT class, Porsches swept the top two finishing positions, with Andy Lally taking the victory in the No. 66 TRG Porsche he shared with R.J. Valentine and Spencer Pumpelly. The No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche of Dirk Werner, Bryce Miller, and Craig Stanton finished second, followed by the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards.
The Rolex Series returns to the track on June 23 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.