GAINSCO team captures top-ten finish in wild night under the lights at Miami MIAMI-- Alex Gurney and Jimmy Vasser battled horsepower woes, handling troubles and a slick racetrack to emerge with a solid sixth-place finish at Saturday night's...
GAINSCO team captures top-ten finish in wild night under the lights at Miami
MIAMI-- Alex Gurney and Jimmy Vasser battled horsepower woes, handling troubles and a slick racetrack to emerge with a solid sixth-place finish at Saturday night's Linder Industrial Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The result moved the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley into fifth place in the fight for the Grand-Am championship.
Around one-quarter of the 109-lap, 250-mile event was run behind the Pontiac GTO pace car as a result of numerous spins, crashes and other assorted incidents. But with the exception of minor contact, Alex and Jimmy kept the No. 99 clean throughout the race -- a fact Alex said was critical to the team's first top-ten performance of the 2006 season.
"We were consistent and stayed out of trouble, which is what you've got to do in these races," Gurney said. "We're pretty happy, sixth place is a good finish and it's probably the most we could have hoped for. It will help the GAINSCO team in the points for sure."
The team was beset with chronic oversteer, especially as the Hoosier tires aged, and toward the end of the race Vasser had a handful to drive. The 1996 Champ Car champion took it in stride, however, and enjoyed his second time behind the wheel of the GAINSCO Daytona Prototype.
"The GAINSCO car got pretty loose on me toward the end but you gotta do what you gotta do, you can't give up and I just had to drive through it," Vasser said. "I think we all expected to do a bit better, but I think it's clear the Pontiacs are down on power and we missed the setup a bit, so to come home sixth is a strong result. I had a great time racing with the GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing guys and I'm looking forward to possibly doing more of these races in the future."
Heavy traffic kept both drivers on their toes throughout the race, and as the night wore on, oil, dirt and debris turned the asphalt surface into something akin to a skating rink.
"My stint was pure hectic dogfighting the whole way through -- a lot of passing back and forth and the track was just really slippery so it was tough to keep the GAINSCO car on the track and not make mistakes," Gurney said.
The GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team will return to Dallas to prepare the GAINSCO machine for the next Rolex Sports Car Series race, April 7-8 on the streets of Long Beach, Calif. -- marking the championship's first-ever visit to the prestigious Grand Prix of Long Beach. The 90-minute sprint race will feature at least 25 Daytona Prototypes on the twisting 1.8 mile street circuit, where Gurney has extensive experience in Toyota Atlantic competition. The green flag will drop at 4 p.m Pacific time, and the race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel at 6 p.m. Pacific.