Gurney, Fogarty Dominate Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype EMCO Gears Classic Race at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- As they did two weeks ago in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, No. 99 Bob...
Gurney, Fogarty Dominate Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype EMCO Gears Classic Race at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- As they did two weeks ago in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International, No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing GAINSCO Pontiac Riley drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney put the pounding on fellow Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve competitors in Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leading all but six of the 111 laps in the caution-free race.
Fogarty, who set a track qualifying record on Friday, led from the pole during his stint, then watched as Gurney opened up more than a 30-second advantage in the final 20 laps, settling for a 31.629-second victory over Scott Pruett. It marked Gurney and Fogarty's second straight Daytona Prototype victory and third of the season, a series high. Their triumph at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City, Mexico also went caution-free.
"Obviously, a great day," said Gurney, who led 74 of the race's laps. "Just a mistake-free race. I had no problems with the strategy, great pit stops, just an awesome team effort. I hope the wins keep coming."
Fogarty was never headed on the track as he pulled away from No. 39 Cheever Racing Crown Royal Special Reserve Porsche Fabcar driver Christian Fittipaldi at the drop of the green flag and held at most a two-second lead over Fittipaldi through the first 35 minutes.
But when it came time for pit stops, fellow competitors were no match. Gurney got out faster then No. 58 Brumos Porsche Red Bull Porsche Riley driver David Donohue, and built his lead from 10 seconds to more than 20 before having to pit again on Lap 82.
While Gurney lost the lead during that stop to Donohue, he quickly regained the point on Lap 85 when Donohue and Braun pitted for the final time. From there, it was a matter of keeping the car out of trouble. Even after his pit stop, Gurney proved the car was just as good at the end of the race as it was in the beginning, as he posted the race's fastest lap -- 1:18.485 (103.571 mph) -- on the 84th circuit.
"It was excellent," Fogarty said. "We were concerned about track position all weekend, because this is a difficult place to pass. Starting on pole was key, I was able to maintain the lead through my stint and hand it over to Alex. I gave him the car out front. There were no yellows, it stayed green the whole way, and we stayed out front. It was awesome. The motor got a little hot, but not a problem, the Pontiac was a solid piece."
No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates co-driver Pruett, who extended his top-10 finish streak to 12 races, put pressure on Donohue in the final 10 laps before getting by when Donohue slowed to pitted for a splash of fuel. Pruett managed to bring home second for himself and co-driver Memo Rojas -- who started the race fifth -- and in the process increased his championship point lead to 11 over Angelelli.
"That was all we had today," Pruett said. "We had probably a second-place car, a top-five car. We're in it for the championship and worked hard. It had to be a great show for the fans. The TELMEX car ran great, Toyota/Lexus gave us a good engine again as always, and we're really pleased with the performance of the team and Memo. There was a lot of strategy going on. We said coming in here that we couldn't make any mistakes, and we didn't make a mistake. That's all we could do. There was a four-, five-car battle going on there (for second place late in the race). You couldn't work the guy in front of you as hard as you'd want, because you'd leave the door open behind."
Rojas ran in the top five during his segment, and said the team accomplished what it expected.
"It went pretty well, just what we planned on," Rojas said. "No mistakes. I handed the car to Scott with no scratches, and we went for it the best we could at the end."
Colin Braun and Max Papis, who shared the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley, were in the hunt all afternoon for a podium finish. Papis started the race sixth and stayed there before Braun took over. Braun -- who took over the point for three laps when Donohue pitted -- appeared headed for a fourth-place finish before passing Donohue near the end.
"It was a great race," Braun said. "David Brown, our engineer, did a great job, and Max did a great job in his first stint, and we started working our way up. It's not an easy weekend like Homestead, VIR and Mexico City. They worked their butts off this weekend. This one's really for them."
Papis, the 2004 race co-winner with Pruett, echoed Braun's sentiments about it being a team victory.
"Our guys really deserve this," Papis said. "We stretched everything to the limit. We didn't start the weekend from the best position, but Colin drove excellent and the strategy was awesome. We used every single drop of fuel, and I think we maximized everything we had today."
Like the rest of the top five, Angelelli and co-driver Jonathan Cochet in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley were podium contenders from the start. Cochet ran in the top three before turning the car over to Angelelli during the first 45 minutes. Angelelli tried to get by Braun during the final five laps inside and out, but couldn't find a place to get by cleanly. The pair crossed the finish line fourth in line, giving Angelelli a top-five finish in six of seven races this season.
Donohue -- who led two laps prior to the team's second pit stop -- was part of the race's best battle, as he led the four-car train of Pruett, Braun and Angelelli most of the final 25 laps. But Donohue needed a splash of fuel and fell to fifth at race's end. He took over from Darren Law -- who ran third most of his stint -- and ran second for much of his stint. It marked the third top-five for Donohue and Law in 2007.
Fittipaldi was the only other driver to lead the race, as he led a lap before turning the No. 39 over to co-driver Harrison Brix. The duo finished eighth behind the other Chip Ganassi team, the No. 19 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Z-Lines Designs/Missional Residential Lexus Riley of Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay.
Columbus, Ohio area-based Michael Shank Racing earned ninth with its No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley and drivers Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson and 10th with Ian James and James Pew in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Playboy Lexus Riley. Southard Motorsports, another Columbus, Ohio area-based team, took 15th with Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman sharing the No. 3 Preformed Line Products/TrueChoice Motorsports Lexus Riley. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based Frees The Need/Doran Racing stable earned 13th with Memo Gidley and Guy Cosmo driving the No. 77 Kodak Ford Doran.
Eighteen of the 19 starters completed the race as the No. 05 Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW Riley with co-drivers Matthew Alhadeff and Bill Auberlen, which won round three at Homestead-Miami Speedway, was the only car to retire. Despite the dominance by the No. 99 Pontiac Riley and no yellows, seven cars finished on the lead lap.
The Rolex Series Daytona Prototypes continue their season July 5 with the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The GT class, which races at 11 a.m. Sunday with a two-and-a-half hour event at Mid-Ohio, will rejoin the Daytona Prototypes at Daytona.