GAINSCO team gets up to speed at tricky, changing Mid-Ohio circuit Gurney, Fogarty click off third-quick times in testing for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 21, 2007) -- In a trio of half-hour test sessions today at the ...
GAINSCO team gets up to speed at tricky, changing Mid-Ohio circuit
Gurney, Fogarty click off third-quick times in testing for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 21, 2007) -- In a trio of half-hour test sessions today at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty sped to the lead pack again in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley, as they prepare for Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank. While official times were not released, as the 30-minute sessions were unsanctioned, both drivers got good stints in and began the process of developing the GAINSCO machine. New paving and curbing in spots has changed the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course for the better, as Gurney and Fogarty both praised the higher speeds possible.
Mid-Ohio has been good to the GAINSCO team -- owner Bob Stallings captured the 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship, Alex Gurney scored the pole in the 2005 Grand-Am EMCO Gears Classic and the pairing of Jon and Alex captured a third-place finish in last year's edition of the race.
The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing duo did not participate in earlier open tests at the circuit conducted by several other leading Grand-Am teams, so today's testing was deemed particularly important by the team and particularly engineer Kyle Brannan. Much progress was made, and that will continue tomorrow as official timed practice will begin at 9:10 a.m., followed by Jon Fogarty's qualifying attempt at 4:55 p.m. -- where he'll look to continue the team's six-race unbroken streak of front-row starting spots.
Alex Gurney: "Everything was good in testing -- we didn't test here before so we had a bunch of setup things to run through, but we know we have a fast car and we'll see what happens when it counts. We're happy with what we accomplished today. This track is always fun, but it's changed a lot since last year. The curbs especially are different, and it changes your line on a lot of corners quite a bit. You can run up on the exit curbs more and go a bit faster. The surface is still pretty slippery, though."
Jon Fogarty: "Today was a productive day -- the track surface is still pretty strange to me, from what I know Mid-Ohio as, because it's my 12th year racing here. We've had to make a few adjustments because of that, but I think we're dealing with those adjustments as good as anybody else in the field. Now we need to roll into tomorrow's start of the real race weekend and keep improving the car and work toward a good qualifying run tomorrow night. I want the pole, it would be nice but really our focus is on the race. Our front-row streak's great but ultimately it has no bearing on the championship finish. We can start where we start, but we have to finish up front. If it gets wet, it will be just a massive challenge just keeping the GAINSCO car on the surface. Even if it stays dry, there's a lot to deal with -- the mix of corners here really keeps the driver and the engineer busy."
Bob Stallings: "We rolled the GAINSCO car off the truck this morning to find that the track has changed a lot from last year. We didn't test earlier here like some of the other teams did, so we had to do work on the car to get where we are -- but we're not far off the pace. Alex and Jon did a good job of keeping the car on the track and in one piece in that last damp session, and they really were able to work with Kyle Brannan to get a comfortable car that will have a smooth, fast race pace. I'll tell you, from a personal point of view, Mid-Ohio is the most interesting track on the circuit. It's very, very fast in spots, and in the backside's twisty stuff, you really have to be careful because there's no margin for error. That last little hill back there in Madness, your tendency is to put the foot in the throttle, and, you can wash out right into the wall. This place demands everything from a driver -- speed, precision, patience and daring."