Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing win first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series pole since 2007 in EMCO Gears Classic Qualifying at Mid-Ohio NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE TEAM WINS THIRD POLE IN FIVE YEARS AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio (June...
Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing win first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series pole since 2007 in EMCO Gears Classic Qualifying at Mid-Ohio
NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE TEAM WINS THIRD POLE IN FIVE YEARS AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 19, 2009) -- A qualifying session that got off to a great start before the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley even turned a wheel saw Jon Fogarty give GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing its first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series pole since 2007 Friday in qualifying for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic. Live coverage of the 2 ¾ hour timed sprint race begins at 5 p.m. ET tomorrow on SPEED.
Prior to the 15-minute qualifying session, the GAINSCO team pulled No. 1 in the qualifying draw for the first time. The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series uses a group qualifying format but still has teams draw numbers to determine the first five cars to take to the track. The first team out has a clear track ahead and GAINSCO used that to its advantage Friday.
"It was a good run," said Fogarty, who is shooting for a third-straight EMCO Gears Classic win with teammate Alex Gurney tomorrow. "We drew number one out of the bag for qualifying, which has never happened to us before. We got out there and were able to run clear and the car just got better and better during the whole run. We made some changes between practice and qualifying and definitely went in the right direction. We can still improve upon it too, so that is a good thing, but it was a great effort. Not a lot of track time this weekend but we put our heads together and came up with a package that is quick. It's been a long time since we have been on pole."
Fogarty was quick from the drop of the green flag and actually improved his pole-winning speed three times late in the session. He appeared to have things under control with a Lap 9 time of 1:18.203 but then improved to a 1:18.059 (104.137 mph) on his 10th and final lap of the session.
"That was a great qualifying for Jon and great for the team," said Gurney, who won the first of GAINSCO's three poles at Mid-Ohio in 2005. "We struggled this morning in practice and this afternoon actually and threw some pretty big things at the car, and it obviously worked. It's nice when those sessions go that way."
GAINSCO has now qualified on the front row for each of its five races at Mid-Ohio. Fogarty was also on the pole here in 2007 and on the outside front row in 2006 and last year. The last time GAINSCO won a pole was at Infineon Raceway for the penultimate round of the 2007 Rolex Series Championship. Friday's top qualifying effort was the 14th career pole for the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team and the ninth for Fogarty. He is now ranked third all-time in overall Grand-Am Rolex Series pole positions and second in Daytona Prototypes, surpassing David Donohue in both categories.
A bigger milestone will be on the line tomorrow, however, when GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty look for a record third consecutive victory in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio. Gurney and Fogarty turned in one of GAINSCO's most dominating performances to win the 2007 EMCO classic and then made a record comeback in the rain last year for their second Mid-Ohio win in a row. A "three-peat" in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley this weekend would be a first for GAINSCO at any track and the first triple sweep of a race by the same driver and team combination in Grand-Am Rolex Series history.