Fogarty, GAINSCO team pick up third-straight front row start with outside pole at Homestead HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Jon Fogarty made it three-in-a-row for the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, as he stuck the...
Fogarty, GAINSCO team pick up third-straight front row start with outside pole at Homestead
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Jon Fogarty made it three-in-a-row for the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, as he stuck the GAINSCO machine that he'll share with Alex Gurney on the outside pole for tomorrow's Linder Industrial/Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami -- giving the 99 team a decided advantage as Gurney and Fogarty seek their second consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series victory.
Fogarty's 1 minute, 14.509-second lap of the 2.3-mile speedway road course was clocked at an average speed of 111.128 mph, and was bested only by the No. 10 machine, piloted by Jan Magnussen -- who he'll chase down when the green flag drops on the 109-lap, 400-kilometer race. At Mexico City three weeks ago, Fogarty qualified on the front row, and at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Gurney earned the pole position.
"It feels great to have achieved the third-straight front-row start for the GAINSCO Auto Insurance team," Fogarty said. "It's my first time here in Daytona Prototypes and my first time here in about six years or so, so I'm really happy to be fast out of the box. We knew from testing that we'd be quick but we're especially pleased that the car was good all nine laps of the session. It didn't fall off at all, which means I think we have a very good race car."
In the GAINSCO team's thrilling maiden victory at Mexico City, Fogarty translated a front-row start into consistent performance on the track, keeping the 99 on course and on pace with the leader, which meant he handed the Pontiac-powered Riley over to Gurney in pristine condition. That, in turn, gave Gurney a car capable of making the chase for the win. Both drivers are hoping to repeat that kind of winning teamwork tomorrow.
"I'm thrilled that Jon was able to stick the GAINSCO car on the front row again," Gurney said. "When we keep the car up front, it's less likely to get in trouble, and that is always absolutely critical in this series. The car's handling great and it's very consistent, to boot. We'd love to get another win here in front of a friendly audience, and I think we've got as good a shot as anyone."
That "friendly audience" will be composed of dozens of GAINSCO agents, employees, executives and guests, who are attending the race to cheer on the No. 99 team. Florida is a major market for the rapidly growing auto insurance company. Team owner Bob Stallings said he couldn't have written a better script for the agent and employee event.
"We had a really good test here last year and it paid off," Stallings said. "I'd be thrilled to see the No. 99 in Victory Lane again in front of all of our GAINSCO fans, but if we can't do that, we want to get a solid finish that'll bring us a haul of championship points. We started off with some problems at Daytona, but this weekend we have a real opportunity to get right back in the fight for the driver's championship, and that's what we intend to do."
A 15-minute final practice session for the Rolex Series gets underway at 10:10 a.m. Eastern time. The Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami gets the green flag at 2 p.m., and is subject to a two-hour, 30-minute time limit.