GURNEY AND FOGARTY SEEK SECOND WIN IN A WEEK IN NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE PONTIAC RILEY Millville, N.J. (May 1, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's Champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty were both on the pace in a quiet ...
GURNEY AND FOGARTY SEEK SECOND WIN IN A WEEK IN NO. 99 GAINSCO AUTO INSURANCE PONTIAC RILEY
Millville, N.J. (May 1, 2009) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing's Champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty were both on the pace in a quiet but productive opening day of practice Friday for this weekend's Verizon Wireless 250 on Thunderbolt Raceway at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
After Gurney set a mid-session time of 1:16.326 on Lap 17 in the second of the day's two practice sessions Friday afternoon, a fresh set of Pirelli P Zero "sticker" tires went on the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley and Fogarty took the wheel. He set's GAINSCO's fastest lap of the day of 1:16.289 (106.175 mph) near the end of the one-hour practice session, good enough for the sixth fastest time overall.
"We made some improvement in the car and that's going to give us direction overnight as to where we want to be tomorrow," said Fogarty, who will qualify the No. 99 tomorrow for Sunday's race.
Gurney gave high marks to the new Turn 3 chicane on Thunderbolt that Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series competitors are using for the first time this weekend.
"The new chicane helps, I like it," said Gurney, who co-drove with Fogarty to victory in the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) last weekend. "Coming out of it you can always get a GT car going in to the next corner, so there is just enough room to make a pass when you leave the chicane."
Fogarty was also happy with the new Turn 3 chicane configuration.
"You are going to suck up to a GT car as they slow down to go through there," Fogarty said. "Once you are bunched up behind them you always have the opportunity to pass them going into the next corner. At the same time, it does stack up traffic but then that opens up an opportunity to pass, but it is a fun corner too.
Friday's sessions were run in cloudy and occasionally rainy conditions and the GAINSCO team deliberately sat out the first part of morning practice.
"We started late just avoiding the rain a little bit, but it was OK," Gurney said. "We just keep chipping away at it. We had a lot of problems with traffic but we got a lot of work done today. We tried a lot of things and I think we ended the day with some improvements. We are probably a little better than the time shows and we still have some work to do, for sure."
After last week's win and a seventh-place finish in January's season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty are in the hunt for the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships. GAINSCO, the 2007 Rolex Series Champs, is now just one point behind third place VIR finishers and Rolex 24 winners David Donohue and Darren Law of Brumos Porsche Racing in both the Team and Driver Championships. The Brumos squad has 60 points to lead both championships but GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty follow closely with 59 points.