GAINSCO LOOKS TO EXTEND POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND SAHLEN'S SIX HOURS WIN IN THREE YEARS WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 4, 2009) -- Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series points leaders GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will...
GAINSCO LOOKS TO EXTEND POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND SAHLEN'S SIX HOURS WIN IN THREE YEARS
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 4, 2009) -- Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series points leaders GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will be shooting for their third win of 2009 and second Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen victory in three years this weekend at Watkins Glen International (WGI) raceway. Live coverage of the 28th running of America's premier six-hour race begins at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT) this Saturday, June 6, and can be seen on SPEED in two parts. The second segment begins at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT) and will feature the race's final hours and post-checkered flag coverage.
Gurney, Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing won the 2007 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen and that season's Grand-Am Rolex Series Team and Driver Championships. They head back to the classic Upstate New York road course this weekend once again leading the Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype point standings. GAINSCO scored a series-leading second win of the season one race ago at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, which gave Gurney, Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley team their earliest championship leads ever.
The season's only repeat race winners, the No. 99 team and Gurney and Fogarty now have 119 points to lead both the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Team and Driver Championships. They are eight points clear of the second place No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley team of Darren Law and David Donohue, and a full 11 points ahead of the third-place No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle.
"Going into this race with the points lead is just a big bonus for our entire GAINSCO team," said Gurney, who also won with Fogarty on The Glen's NASCAR short course in 2007 to sweep both of that season's WGI races. "We have made some major gains since Daytona and Jon and I were particularly happy with how the car performed in the race at Laguna Seca. We think some of the things we learned there will transfer over to several more tracks this year."
Along with guest drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser, Gurney, Fogarty and the GAINSCO crew overcame several in-race mechanical repairs to finish a solid seventh in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in addition to finishing sixth in the rain in Round 3 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in early May. In between, the team picked up its first win of the season in April's Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway, like Laguna Seca, a track where GAINSCO had yet to score a victory. All on the team are feeling the winning energy heading to The Glen.
"Our mood is a bit more upbeat as the car is simply more competitive than last year," Fogarty said. "But the human element, our drive, our passion to win, is very much the same as it always has been. It's an 11 on a scale of 10. Our fire always burns no matter what the situation with our car may be. It just so happens that this year we have made our car better."
In addition to leading the championship and the series in victories, Gurney and Fogarty padded another hard-earned record with the Laguna Seca victory. They earned their record 10th career win in their 42nd start together with GAINSCO since first co-driving as teammates in April, 2006. No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Scott Pruett and current teammate Memo Rojas are the next-highest-ranked active Daytona Prototype duo with seven victories.
This weekend's Watkins Glen race could also produce another milestone for the GAINSCO team. A third win at the historic facility would be the most the team and drivers have earned at any track. Even better, Watkins Glen is a circuit that all on the GAINSCO squad enjoy.
"Watkins Glen has been so good to us in the past that we're hoping for more of the same here in 2009," Gurney said. "I just love the long circuit; it's a very long lap with some great corners, big elevation changes and some real tricky sections. It is a real challenge to complete a full lap without making any mistakes. It's also one of those rare tracks where there are several good spots to pass. The history that surrounds this track, its setting and all of the great drivers who competed here make for a really special feeling for us when we race here."
The fact that the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen is a cross between an endurance race and an all-out sprint also brings another unique twist.
"For sure, the long day is a challenge," Fogarty said. "The six-hour length is very much a sprint as opposed to an endurance race, and between Alex and me being able to divide the driving duties any number of ways and our driver comfort aids, I think the physical aspects of the race should not be too difficult. But the length of the day will be very hard, on the crews especially. By the time the last pit stop comes around, the guys are going to be fatigued."