Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won the Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 Saturday at the Virginia International Raceway, as Gurney held off Michael Valiante in a five-minute sprint to the checkered flag set up by the race's fourth and...
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty won the Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 Saturday at the Virginia International Raceway, as Gurney held off Michael Valiante in a five-minute sprint to the checkered flag set up by the race's fourth and final caution period.
Without that caution period, neither Fogarty nor Valiante would have made it to the finish as both drivers were running low on fuel. But with the yellow both drivers were able to drive flat-out to the finish line, with Valiante having to settle for second after trying desperately to find a way by Gurney's Pontiac Riley during the final lap.
"It was a real tough race for sure," said Gurney, whose team was frantically urging him to save fuel before the race's final yellow. "We learned from the last few races here that you have to run trimmed out and that's what we did. And we were happy to see that yellow at the end."
That yellow and some crafty driving by Gurney handed the Gainsco team its first win of the season on a day that featured some unseasonably warm weather. "This is where we all wanted to be," added Gurney. "Our guys did some really neat things over the off season and then after Daytona we got a new car with a lot of nice detail changes. So we really made some improvements and we're back in the game."
The Gainsco team won only one race last season after winning seven races and the Rolex Series championship in 2007. Today's race marked the 40th for the Gurney and Fogarty driver pairing.
Valiante, who moved to his new team at the beginning of the year, was also happy to see the yellow at the end of race. "When the yellow flag came out, we were able to run hard to the end," explained the Canadian, who shared the driving duties in the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley with John Pew. "But (Gurney) just had a little bit more than me to make it difficult for me to get by him. And I wasn't going to just take us both out. But I think we had a car today to win for sure."
The Daytona-winning Brumos Racing Porsche Riley of David Donohue and Darren Law finished third but not before Donohue ran into the back of Scott Pruett's Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley during the race's final restart. The shove sent Pruett, who was running third at the time, skating off the racing line and into the path of Max Angelelli's SunTrust Ford Dallara. The two cars collided, putting both out of contention for the win. Pruett ended up 12th even though his teammate, Memo Rojas, led the most laps. Angelelli finished 13th.
"I thought I was locked up and couldn't change direction so I was hoping (Pruett) would turn out of the way and we would just go by him," said Donohue.
But Pruett saw things differently. "We were in a good position in third, I don't really know if I had something for the leaders, but I would have liked to find out. Then we just got blatantly punted going into one on that re-start. I expected more out of Donohue and more out of Grand-Am."
Rounding out the top-five in the Daytona Prototype class were the SuperCar Life Racing BMW Riley and the Doran Racing Ford Dallara. The second Michael Shank entry finished sixth, followed by the Penske Racing Porsche Riley and the second Brumos car.
In the GT class, Pontiacs finished first and second, with the Stevenson Motorsport entry driven by Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis beating the Banner Racing car shared by Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins to the checkered flag. Sylvain Tremblay and Nick Ham ended up third in the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.
The race featured four cautions for 17 laps and 11 lead changes among 11 drivers.
The Rolex Series will return to the track next weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park.