SOLID QUALIFYING EFFORT FOLLOWS TOP-THREE PRACTICE RUNS FOR NO. 99 "RED DRAGON" DANVILLE, Va. (April 23, 2010) -- Defending Bosch Engineering 250 race winners GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, with drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will start the...
SOLID QUALIFYING EFFORT FOLLOWS TOP-THREE PRACTICE RUNS FOR NO. 99 "RED DRAGON"
DANVILLE, Va. (April 23, 2010) -- Defending Bosch Engineering 250 race winners GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, with drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will start the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley from row two in tomorrow's 2-3/4-hour timed race at Virginia International Raceway after Fogarty qualified fourth Friday with a lap time of 1:42.652 (114.679 mph).
GAINSCO's solid qualifying effort followed top-three runs in the day's pair of practice sessions, including the second fastest time in the afternoon session that was held just one hour before qualifying. Fogarty thought a similar top-three result was possible in qualifying but came up just short in the 15 minute session.
"We did make some setup changes for qualifying, but I think they were the wrong direction, so we have that information now," Fogarty said. "I do feel like I left a couple tenths-of-a-second on the table and we would have been good enough for third, but the pole-winning 01 car is just too far out in front. So we are focused on making our car better, basically, and I think we have a good idea on how to do that. We're near the front, the car is in fine shape and we know how to make it better, so that is a positive."
Gurney drove the majority of his laps in the morning practice session and liked the feel of the GAINSCO "Red Dragon" on the 3.27-mile VIR road course.
"I think the car felt really good this morning," Gurney said. "We made a lot of good changes, and I think we went the wrong way for qualifying, but I was happy when I drove it this morning and felt comfortable. It will be interesting tomorrow with all of the pit strategy and everything, and I feel good about it."
GAINSCO and its champion drivers are determined to rebound in the Bosch Engineering 250, which is Round 4 of this year's 12-race GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series schedule. GAINSCO finished third in March's Grand Prix of Miami but that result came in between a pair of engine failures in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and one race ago at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama. Gurney never had a chance to drive in the latter race and missed out on the 18 championship points that Fogarty and the No. 99 team each received after being classified 13th in the final results. Although this is the first time in their four full seasons racing together that Gurney and Fogarty don't have the same championship points totals, a strong result in tomorrow's race could put the No. 99 right back in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Team title hunt. Despite the early-season setbacks, the No. 99 is still tied for fifth in the team standings with 71 points.
"We look forward," Fogarty said. "You do it every session, you do it every lap and you do it from race to race. We are always trying to get the most of it, and it is great to have the opportunity to come out here and do that, so we will just keep at it."
The GAINSCO squad may also be looking skyward tomorrow as rain could play a factor in the race.
"Rain might be good for us," Fogarty said. "Rain is more about driving the car through the corners and less about what happens between them, so that's a situation that is good for us."
In last year's Bosch Engineering 250, Gurney and Fogarty celebrated their 40th race start together with the team's first win of 2009 and first-ever victory at VIR. It proved to be a launching point to GAINSCO's second GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships in three years as the team went on to win a total of four races and six poles en route to the 2009 titles. GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty also won the 2007 GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships. Not even the shaky start to the 2010 season can keep GAINSCO from shooting for similar success both tomorrow and in the rest of the season.
"We are trying to not think about the past and to just try and win races," Gurney said. "We think we have got a car capable of doing that and have another day to work on it."