For GAINSCO team, Mexico City proves to be another day of might-have-beens MEXICO CITY, Mexico- The GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team went all-in against long odds Saturday at the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City 250 - and the ...
For GAINSCO team, Mexico City proves to be another day of might-have-beens
MEXICO CITY, Mexico- The GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team went all-in against long odds Saturday at the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Mexico City 250 - and the team's gamble of putting Alex Gurney in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance machine on Lap 2 nearly paid off. But a tiny miscue on the driver change put the team's Pontiac Riley a lap down early, and despite Gurney's blinding speed, the team wasn't able to entirely recover. Gurney brought the No. 99 home in 13th place, having completed a fitting 99 laps. That finish moved the team into a tie for ninth in the 2006 championship chase - the first time the team has been in the top 10 in Rolex Series points standings.
Team owner and driver Bob Stallings decided before the race to relinquish his seat behind the wheel of the GAINSCO car after just a single lap. Stallings explained that he wasn't feeling 100 percent on raceday. "I woke up race morning with a headache and some pain - I didn't think I was going to be able to pull a full stint at the limit and do what I need to do, which is give Alex a car in contention to win," Stallings said. "This was a tough race for us - but being in the top-10 in points even with all the problems we've had is something we can build on for the season."
Unfortunately, the pit stop on Lap 2 hit a minor hitch as the driver change didn't go entirely smoothly, and Gurney wasn't able to get out on track ahead of the leader. From there, it was a drive for points and positions. Alex charged hard through the field, but inopportune caution flags stymied his quest to get back on the lead lap. Still, all race long, Gurney set quick laps, kept pace with the front of the pack and showed that the GAINSCO Auto Insurance machine has the speed and consistency needed to win a Grand-Am race. "Things just didn't go as we planned, and those little things added up fast," Gurney said. "I'm still really encouraged by the pace our car is setting - I could hang right there with the leaders, including the eventual winner, all day long. It's just too bad I was on the wrong lap to go for a podium finish."
The wrong lap also put Alex on the wrong side of Krohn Racing driver Jorg Bergmeister - as the laps wound down, Gurney said he might have impeded Bergmeister's chase for the lead. "I want to apologize to Jorg," Gurney said. "I thought I was racing him for position there toward the end, there were two green Krohn cars right there. One was for position and the other wasn't, and I was racing the one that wasn't."
For Gurney, Stallings and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance team, it's on to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the third round of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car series, the Grand Prix of Miami, set for March 25. The 250-mile race on the Florida roval will run into the night, starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.