Phoenix: Blackhawk Racing qualifying report

Gurney, Fogarty work with GAINSCO team to come to grips with enigmatic Phoenix circuit PHOENIX -- Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty combined to put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley in 8th place in today's combined Rolex Series practice...

Gurney, Fogarty work with GAINSCO team to come to grips with enigmatic Phoenix circuit

PHOENIX -- Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty combined to put the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley in 8th place in today's combined Rolex Series practice sessions for Saturday's GAINSCO Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway. Gurney's fast lap of 58.361 seconds, at an average speed of 93.144 mph, was turned in the early afternoon session. Both Jon and Alex have had to deal with unexpected handling issues that have kept the No. 99 from reaching its full potential -- the balance of the car is not settled and understeer rears its head in the infield hairpin. However, both drivers are confident that they'll work through the difficulties in Friday afternoon's practice session beginning at 1 p.m. At 7:45 p.m., Gurney will take the No. 99 out for a 30-minute qualifying sprint race, with the finishing order setting the grid for Saturday's two-hour, 45-minute endurance feature.

Driver Quotes:

Alex Gurney: "Well, it was a difficult day. We came here and tested a couple months ago and we thought we were very quick. But the setup we ran then is nothing like the setup that worked today, so we've really turned the car upside down to try to get it right. It's been tough, because the track is so much different that I'm guessing it must be something with the heat. Whatever it is, the conditions have changed the balance of the car, so we have to work to get it back where it needs to be. When we run the qualifying race, we need a clean race and we need get a fairly good starting spot for Saturday. It will be really important to start up front because it will take maybe only two laps to catch the GTs and that's when the mayhem will start."

Jon Fogarty: "We made some pretty significant changes and it did improve the car but I don't think it improved it where it really matters. We're struggling with some pretty big understeer, because we found some big rear grip but it's been a challenge to find grip in the front. We need to figure out whether to build off the changes we made today or engineer backwards to a different setup, but I think we'll get it sorted out. We used our tires smartly this weekend so that should be an advantage, and I think it will be a wild race with some pretty nasty traffic."

-gainsco-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty