GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's Fogarty Qualifies Third For Sunday's Verizon Wireless Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Third Consecutive Third-Place Starting Position Has No. 99 Gainsco Team in Good Shape MONTEREY, Calif. (May 16,...
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's Fogarty Qualifies Third For Sunday's Verizon Wireless Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Third Consecutive Third-Place Starting Position Has No. 99 Gainsco Team in Good Shape
MONTEREY, Calif. (May 16, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty qualified third for the third-straight race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and will start Sunday's Verizon Wireless 250 presented by SPEEDCOM Communications
Fogarty twice held the pole in Saturday's 15-minute qualifying session and ultimately ended up third on the grid with a lap time of 1:20.349 (100.273 mph) that he turned late in the session on his eighth lap. It was a solid effort considering Fogarty went off course at the track's famous Corkscrew turn early in qualifying and thought he may have done some damage to the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley.
"Third starting position certainly isn't bad," said Fogarty, who will drive the opening stint in Sunday's race before turning the GAINSCO car over to teammate Alex Gurney. "It's on an inside row and the times are pretty close, I think, and we probably would have had enough for second had I not made the mistake at the beginning of the session and damaged the nose. That caused us to lose a little bit of front down force. I went off in the corkscrew and when I re-entered the track I think it just screwed up our nose a little bit, but with the tires coming in and the fuel burning off, I was able to improve my lap times despite the issues we had."
Gurney didn't drive on Saturday but will be ready for his usual role of finishing the race on Sunday, which is expected to be run in 90-degree temperatures. A high of 93 was recorded at the track today.
"The heat could be an issue, but it's the same for everybody," Gurney said. "It seemed like an okay qualifying lap. We had a little problem at the beginning going off that maybe hurt the nose a little bit, but Jon rebounded real quick and got in a good lap. So, we will see. The (pole-winning) Ganassi car had a pretty big advantage there."
Fogarty is also thinking about the heat but admits he may have the better end of the driver rotation.
"It's hot, but it is not going to be too bad for me," Fogarty said. "My stint is generally shorter than Alex's but we will make sure the car is cool inside. I think we can handle it. We have been to Alabama in July and August."
Regardless of the weather, Fogarty loves racing on a track the Palo Alto-native calls home and joins Gurney in liking how the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley is running lately. The team won two races ago in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.
"The car feels better than the car we had last year, and the car we had last year was pretty raceable," Fogarty said. "We will tune on what we learned in the last two sessions for the warm up and go racing from there. It's a real nice weekend. It is a great place to spectate from, there's tons of vantage points and Grand-Am racing is great. Hopefully we will turn on a lot of new fans this weekend."