GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing wins first pole of 2010 as Jon Fogarty adds to career record at New Jersey 250 MILLVILLE, N.J. (July 17, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing won its first pole position of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car ...
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing wins first pole of 2010 as Jon Fogarty adds to career record at New Jersey 250
MILLVILLE, N.J. (July 17, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing won its first pole position of the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season Saturday in qualifying for tomorrow's New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) 250 presented by Crown Royal on NJMP's Thunderbolt Raceway where team driver Jon Fogarty's 15th career top qualifying effort extended his record as the all-time Daytona Prototype pole winner. Sunday's 2-3/4-hour timed race is Round Nine of 12 events on the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule and can be seen live on SPEED, July 18, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
"I am really excited to have this first pole of the season," said Fogarty, who won GAINSCO's first pole since the 2009 Grand Prix of Miami finale. "I was pushing hard and I knew that tire management would be a little bit of a concern with the extreme heat. You need to get your lap done early in the qualifying session here and we were able to do that. I got sent out by the team in a clean spot on the track and went for it."
Fogarty and GAINSCO stayed in the pits for the first five minutes of the quick 15-minute qualifying session before stringing together a run of increasingly faster laps. Fogarty's fourth and final flyer clocked in at 1:15:148 (107.787 mph) and gave the two-time reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Champions a much needed boost in what has been a tough and, so far, winless year.
"We have had a trying season and it just wears on you," Fogarty said. "We have never given up and never stopped pushing as hard as possible, but it does wear on you so this just feels great. Everybody has obviously got a little bit of pick up in their step and we have been working on the car, with Chevrolet and with everybody to put together a package capable of being on the front row, and we maximized it today. It's good, poles are great, but we obviously want to look forward to the end of the day tomorrow."
GAINSCO's last race win was in the penultimate round of 2009's championship season at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah where Fogarty and co-driver Alex Gurney were victorious from the pole. Saturday's top qualifying effort bodes well for a good result in New Jersey, but ongoing hot and humid temperatures in the mid 90s will be a challenge for the entire field.
"Jon did a perfect job but it is a long day tomorrow and we have a lot of strategy to go over," Gurney said. "The car is fast and hopefully we will be able to take it to them. Tire management will be a big deal and there are a couple of corners here where it is difficult to put the power down, so it asks a lot of the tires. Not much straightaway either so you don't get much cooling effect."
Gurney also has five career GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype poles with GAINSCO to his credit and the team's total of 20 ranks the No. 99 "Red Dragon" second on the all-time pole winner list. Gurney and Fogarty have also combined to win 12 career Daytona Prototype races and hope to add to that total in tomorrow. GAINSCO's best result this year has been a single top-three podium appearance when Gurney and Fogarty drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley to a third-place finish in March's Grand Prix of Miami.
"I am just pleased that the car is performing and what that means for our prospects in tomorrow's race," Fogarty said. It is just a positive all the way around, regardless of records and what not. We are going to hope to improve on it, though, as it was a pretty wild qualifying. I was pushing hard and hanging on and didn't cruise to the pole by any means. It's going to be a long hot race and we want to make the car comfortable to drive."
Gurney and Fogarty finished sixth in last year's rain-soaked race at NJMP and recovered from a late-race punt-and-run in 2008 to finish fifth after leading several laps. The No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley is currently fifth in the 2010 team championship standings with 196 points but trails the second place No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara by just 14 points. The No. 10 will start alongside GAINSCO on the front row tomorrow for the second consecutive race after Ricky Taylor won the pole at Daytona earlier this month and Fogarty was on the outside of the front row.