Gurney and Fogarty Give GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing First VIR Victory in 40th Race Together In the Bosch Engineering 250; Gurney Stretches Fuel Mileage and Holds Off Valiante for First 2009 and Ninth Career Win DANVILLE, Va. (April 25, 2009) --...
Gurney and Fogarty Give GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing First VIR Victory in 40th Race Together In the Bosch Engineering 250; Gurney Stretches Fuel Mileage and Holds Off Valiante for First 2009 and Ninth Career Win
DANVILLE, Va. (April 25, 2009) -- Alex Gurney stretched his fuel mileage and then his lead over Michael Valiante in a three-lap dash to the finish to give GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing its first career victory at Virginia International Raceway Saturday in a Bosch Engineering 250 race that marked the 40th career start together for Gurney and teammate Jon Fogarty.
Gurney took over from opening driver Fogarty before the race's halfway point and then muscled the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley past Valiante's Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley in a four-wide pass in traffic on Lap 65 for what would prove to be the race's winning pass. The drama was far from over, however, as Gurney and the rest of the front runners had to nurse the fuel mileage of their Daytona Prototypes to the finish for most of the race's final hour.
The fourth and final caution of the day 15 minutes from the end of the 2 ¾ hour race took away any major fuel concerns but set the stage for the three-lap run to the checkered flag. Gurney withstood the challenge and led Valiante across the finish line by .705 of a second for GAINSCO's first 2009 win and ninth career team victory. GAINSCO averaged 96.074 mph in the victory and completed 81 laps.
"It was a great day and this is where we always want to be," said Gurney who first teamed with Fogarty at GAINSCO in the 2006 race at VIR almost exactly three years ago. "Our guys did some really neat things over the off season and after Daytona. We have a new car and a lot of nice detail changes so we have really made some big improvements."
In their 40 Grand-Am Rolex Series races together with GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty have nine victories, 20 total top-three podium finishes and 11 poles. Saturday's win was GAINSCO's first since Mid-Ohio last June.
"The race to me just seemed to be a typical Grand-Am race," Gurney said. "Just really intense, so many fast guys and good teams and it is just tough to be up there and get the breaks in traffic and not make mistakes. At the end Michael and I were both in a fuel situation, I think, and my guys were yelling at me every lap 'you're not making the (mileage) number, you're not making the number and we are going to run out of fuel.' So, we were happy to see the yellow. It was a great race with Michael there and he just got held up in traffic -- that was right before the esses -- and it was just one of those unlucky deals. That's happened to me quite a bit last year."
Fogarty started third, moved to second on the opening lap and was in the lead by Lap 5 in the first part of the race.
"It was a good stint, I was happy with the car and I kept it clean," Fogarty said. "I knew that we had something to race with for sure when Alex got in. It was definitely a positive day for the GAINSCO team and we are liking the points situation after this and we are hoping to capitalize on it in the next round next week at New Jersey."
Round 3 of the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series will be held at New Jersey Motorpsorts Park (NJMP) next weekend and GAINSCO and its drivers are in the thick of the championship chase heading to the Garden State. GAINSCO is now just one point behind third place VIR finishers David Donohue and Darren Law of Brumos Porsche Racing in both the Grand-Am Rolex Series Team and Driver Championships. The Brumos squad has 60 points to lead both championships but GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty follow closely with 59 points.
The Verizon Wireless 250 at NJMP will run next Sunday, May 3 and can be seen live on SPEED at 1 p.m. ET.
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing teammates Gurney and Fogarty are more than just co-drivers on the track. "Jon is not only my really good friend but an awesome driver and teammate," said Gurney, who first teamed with Fogarty in 2002 in Toyota Atlantic competition. "We really get along and try to push this thing forward. He's obviously super fast and makes good starts and just does everything right, and he did that today too. It's a good combo, for sure."
-- Among GAINSCO's supporters today was Rolex 24 At Daytona teammate Jimmie Johnson who was watching the action live on SPEED from Talladega. Johnson frequently sends text messages back and forth to team owner Bob Stallings during Grand-Am Rolex Series races and sent a message for Gurney during the late going today. Stallings radioed Gurney when he was leading and told him that Jimmie said "you're looking good and good luck." Johnson has co-driven with GAINSCO in each of the last two Rolex 24 At Daytona races along with Jimmy Vasser.