ALEX GURNEY AND JON FOGARTY SHOOTING FOR THIRD MID-OHIO WIN IN LAST FOUR YEARS LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 17, 2010) -- Reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will be looking for a...
ALEX GURNEY AND JON FOGARTY SHOOTING FOR THIRD MID-OHIO WIN IN LAST FOUR YEARS
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 17, 2010) -- Reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing will be looking for a fast start to the second half of the 2010 season with their third EMCO Gears Classic victory in the last four years this Saturday, June 20, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Two weeks ago, Gurney, Fogarty and All-Star teammate Jimmie Johnson looked like a lock for a third-place finish in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen before a late race spin less than 15 minutes from the 8 p.m. finish knocked them to sixth at the checkered flag. That result continued a tough trend in the first half of the season that saw GAINSCO only score one top-three podium finish, a third-place showing in the Grand Prix of Miami in March, in the year's opening six races.
"I'm anxious to get back behind the wheel after a tough couple of race weekends," said Gurney, who drove the final two hours at The Glen. "I'm still not quite sure what happened at Watkins Glen, it was likely just my mistake at the end there but they did find a few things going on with the car after the race. In addition to a broken rear roll bar, the car was smoking quite a bit during the last hour and they found that the main seal on the engine had broken, so some oil may have leaked on to the tire. That seems like a good excuse to me anyway. Either way, it certainly caught me by surprise and felt weird."
Rather than dwell on the past, GAINSCO shifts its focus to the future this weekend and will use the final races of the year to score as many victories as possible in preparation for the 2011 season. As GAINSCO's best track, Mid-Ohio is the perfect venue for the No. 99 "Red Dragon" team's turn around.
"I am looking forward to Mid-Ohio, it's a great track to race on and a really fun driver's circuit," Fogarty said. "Despite the way the season is going, I am excited to go to a nice natural terrain road course and a place where we have had some success. We just want to get into the second half of the season, get some points on the board and try to establish a little bit of rhythm that involves podiums."
GAINSCO has scored nothing but podium finishes at Mid-Ohio since 2006 and has never started off of the front row since debuting on the Buckeye track in 2005. The impressive record includes back-to-back victories in 2007 and '08 and third-place showings last year and in 2006. Gurney won the pole in 2005 while Fogarty picked up top qualifying honors last year and in 2007, along with his outside front-row starting berths in 2006 and '08. Gurney and Fogarty have also combined for a series-leading 192 laps led at Mid-Ohio in the last five years.
"I feel confident about our chances at Mid-Ohio," Gurney said. "We won in the dry in '07 and the wet in '08 so we feel we're in good shape to take on whatever comes our way. It is definitely one of the best tracks in the country, very picturesque. I love the fast Turn 1 and also the section of switchback esses just after the back straight. There are many different lines through there and the way you approach one corner can determine how your car is positioned two corners later. It's a real challenge to try to get that right."
Gurney, Fogarty and GAINSCO capped a season of domination in 2007 with their first GRAND-AM Rolex Series Driver and Team titles and came back last year to capture the same championships a second time. The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley is currently fourth in the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype team championship with 147 points, but the team realizes a third set of titles this year is now unlikely. Despite the championship reality, Fogarty and his teammates remain upbeat heading into the rest of the season.
"It's pretty easy to be enthusiastic, it's a great team and we have the ability to win races," Fogarty said. "We all know that on the team, and we have kind of had past seasons where we have been down on luck, but you just keep your head down. We have got a positive crew, Bob Stallings is a positive team owner and everybody just wants to win real bad, and we enjoy at least having the opportunity to go and make that happen. We are definitely fired up to win races, always, you know, so that's easy. I'm racing cars, I love what I do. No problem there."
In addition to the sixth-place showing at The Glen, Gurney and Fogarty also finished sixth in the Memorial Day Weekend Classic at Lime Rock Park and fifth in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in April. The third-place showing in Miami came in between a pair of engine failures in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and in April's race at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. GAINSCO switched over to Chevrolet engines built by Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines (ECR Engines) beginning with the Lime Rock race and has been pleased with the early results.
"We missed out on some good results so far this year and everyone on our team, including our new engine builder, will definitely be doing all we can to try to win races as we begin the second half of the season," Gurney said. "We will be giving our absolute best effort as always."