Montreal experience could pay points dividends for GAINSCO team Gurney, Fogarty confident coming into series' first visit to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve MONTREAL, Canada (Aug. 1, 2007) -- With four wins in the last five races, and no result...
Montreal experience could pay points dividends for GAINSCO team
Gurney, Fogarty confident coming into series' first visit to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
MONTREAL, Canada (Aug. 1, 2007) -- With four wins in the last five races, and no result worse than sixth in the last seven, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty have placed the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley squarely in championship contention as the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season begins its stretch drive this week at the beautiful but unforgiving Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with the Montreal 400k. Both drivers are looking forward to Friday's inaugural event at the 2.7-mile road course, located on an island park in the heart of Montreal, because unlike most other Rolex Series drivers, they both have experience racing on the circuit from their Atlantic Championship days. Team engineer Kyle Brannan, also an Atlantics veteran, similarly has an understanding of what the track demands in a setup.
"I'm really excited to be coming to Montreal," Gurney said. "I last raced there in Atlantics in 2002, and it's a track that I love. It's a difficult track, setup-wise, to figure out, because it has some quick corners, some long straights, chicanes with big curbs and some very big brakes zones. That makes it difficult to get the aero configuration right."
"Alex and I have talked about Montreal ever since we first learned it would be on the calendar -- I'm guessing that no team has as much combined experience on the circuit, from driver to engineer, as we do," Fogarty said. "It's a difficult track, but one that I really enjoy, and I've had good results there -- one second, one win."
The GAINSCO team began this season with the mantra of "finishing strong" to compete in the championship -- in the two previous seasons, raw speed had been there, but consistent race finishes were elusive. Now, that mantra has a double meaning -- because in order to close up the 13-point gap separating themselves from points leader Scott Pruett in just four races, Gurney and Fogarty know they'll have to score maximum points every time out. But on the strength of dominant performances through the middle of the season, they have every confidence in each other that they can pull off the come-from-behind challenge.
"To win the championship, we need to finish beyond strong," Fogarty said. "There are four races left and I believe we can win all of them -- and that's what we intend to do."
"Having won five of the 10 races this year, we feel as a team that we deserve this championship, and we're going to make every effort to get it," Gurney said. "We still have some points to make up, but we're closing fast and I know we can close the gap even further at Montreal."
Team owner Bob Stallings sees championship success for the GAINSCO team as a matter of continuing the consistent, mistake-free performances that his entire organization has put together.
"We have four races left to go, and the race for the championship is just getting started," Stallings said. "We have been on a roll the last six or seven races, and the process that has gotten us here is pretty simple -- stay focused, have a car capable of getting to the end of the race and not making mistakes. Right now, any one of the top three teams has a shot at the points crown. If we keep doing what we've been doing -- and I'm confident that we will -- then we'll be in good shape for the title fight."