GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty qualify second for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen JIMMIE JOHNSON, ALEX GURNEY AND FOGARTY ALL UP TO SPEED IN NO. 99 "RED DRAGON" WATKINS, GLEN, N.Y. (June 4, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob...
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Jon Fogarty qualify second for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen
JIMMIE JOHNSON, ALEX GURNEY AND FOGARTY ALL UP TO SPEED IN NO. 99 "RED DRAGON"
WATKINS, GLEN, N.Y. (June 4, 2010) -- GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and team driver Jon Fogarty will start on the front row for tomorrow's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International where Fogarty's lap time of 1:41.242 (120.898 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley was the second fastest of Friday's qualifying session on the 3.4-mile circuit. Fogarty will co-drive the No. 99 "Red Dragon" with GAINSCO teammates Alex Gurney and Jimmie Johnson in tomorrow's race.
"The car felt good and it is probably as good a car as we have ever had here for the six-hour race," said Fogarty, who also qualified second in March's Grand Prix of Miami. "I was able to marginally increase my times each lap around the circuit. It was obviously not enough for the pole and the gap to the No. 01 car seems to be quite similar to last year, so it seems status quo in that regard, but I am very happy and this was our best qualifying result in quite some time. It's a good result for us, for sure."
Fogarty will start tomorrow's race alongside the pole-winning No. 01 BMW Riley of archrivals Scott Pruett and TELMEX/Chip Ganassi Racing before handing the No. 99 off to Johnson, who is making his fourth career start with GAINSCO. Johnson is also competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway this weekend but he still managed to make a pair of helicopter trips between The Glen and the Pennsylvania circuit on Friday. Johnson participated in Friday's morning opening practice session at The Glen and then returned after Pocono qualifying for that evening's 45-minute night practice. He will return to The Glen tomorrow to race with GAINSCO some time after the scheduled 2 p.m. start time for the Sahlen's Six Hours.
"It was so much fun," said Johnson, who took his first laps on the full 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit. "The history of the track and to actually finally go drive the boot after all these years of knowing it's over there but never turning left out of the carousel and going down there, it was a lot of fun. And the grip level of the car, the car is driving great and from the vehicles I have driven here, the threshold is so much higher, it's just a lot of fun to scoot around this race track."
The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen will be Johnson's second start of the 2010 season with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and his first in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series on a track other than the road course at Daytona International Speedway. Johnson has raced a GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype seven times at Daytona since 2004, including the last three runnings of the Rolex 24 At Daytona in a four-driver lineup with Gurney, Fogarty and former CART Champ Car World Series Champion Jimmy Vasser.
"We got all that we could out of the GAINSCO car," Gurney said. "Jon said in qualifying it was the best the car has been ever here, so we feel like we got everything out of it. The No. 01 seems to be a pretty large chunk still ahead, and that's a bummer, but otherwise we feel like we can hopefully race everybody else."
Gurney will almost certainly be the driver in the No. 99 for the final stint to the checkered flag.
"Obviously the lead is the best place to always be at that stage of the race, so all we can do is just do good pit stops, stay clean on the track and make good decisions," Gurney said. "Jimmie got some good running tonight and feels more comfortable and we will all be good to go. This place is tricky, it's a long lap and he has driven very few around here so we are glad he made it back tonight and got a good session in."
Gurney and Fogarty won the 2007 Sahlen's Six Hours in a season of domination that saw GAINSCO capture seven wins in 14 races and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships. Their 2007 win total also included a victory in the August sprint race on the NASCAR short course.
Johnson's best finish with the No. 99 GAINSCO team was second with Gurney, Fogarty and Vasser in their debut Rolex 24 together in 2008. In addition to the last three Rolex 24s with GAINSCO, Johnson also drove a Crawford Daytona Prototype in the day-long Daytona race in 2004 and 2005. He did not make any GRAND-AM starts in 2006 but returned in 2007 to compete in both the Rolex 24 and the July sprint race at DIS with the Riley-Matthews Daytona Prototype team. In addition to the Rolex 24 runner-up finish with GAINSCO in 2008, Johnson was also part of the Crawford team's second-place effort in the 2005 24-hour.