Watkins Glen II: Blackhawk Racing preview

Past podiums at The Glen give GAINSCO team an optimistic outlook for 200-mile Friday night sprint WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2006) -- Today, the Rolex Sports Car Series rolls into the fabled Watkins Glen International, and in Friday evening's...

Past podiums at The Glen give GAINSCO team an optimistic outlook for 200-mile Friday night sprint

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (Aug. 10, 2006) -- Today, the Rolex Sports Car Series rolls into the fabled Watkins Glen International, and in Friday evening's Crown Royal 200 at the Glen, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will attempt to write a new chapter in the track's storied history -- a chapter that ends with the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley in Victory Lane for the first time.

With eight straight top-10s and four podiums on the season, GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing has proven itself a top contender in Grand-Am competition, and it's clear that the team is on the verge of a breakthrough victory. The only question is where -- and after two second-place finishes in three starts, it's a good bet that the 2.4-mile Watkins Glen road course could be where it happens. In the team's previous visit to Watkins Glen this season, Gurney and Fogarty took home second place honors, and at the CompUSA 200 here last year, Gurney and team owner Bob Stallings scored the team's very first Grand-Am podium.

"We've had some great races at Watkins Glen these past two years. It's such a special, historic circuit and it would really be the perfect place to get our first win," Gurney said. "We've been so close lately we can hardly stand it!"

For the third time this year, the Daytona Prototype class will be racing without GT cars on course, and Fogarty said that fact, combined with the brief 200-mile race length, would make the event even more chaotic and fast-paced than usual.

"This will be an all-out sprint race. I don't think there will be much strategy other than haul the mail every single lap," Fogarty said. "Without the GTs it will be tougher to pass, so qualifying and straight-line speed will be paramount. Every team is going to be on the edge as we head toward the end of the season -- this will be an exciting and competitive race and I can hardly wait for another shot at a victory for the GAINSCO team."

Gurney expanded on the straight-line theme: "We'll be trimming all the downforce we can out of the GAINSCO Pontiac, so considering that and the shortened, two-day schedule, Jon and I will be working very hard today to get the balance down. I'm confident we'll have a strong car and right now our team is firing on all cylinders."

Stallings shared his drivers' optimistic outlook -- and it's hard to blame him, given the stellar record that the red GAINSCO machine has at Watkins Glen.

"The Watkins Glen course has historically been kind to the No. 99 and we've been fast every time we've been to this track -- twice already we came away as the runner-up," Stallings said. "Alex and Jon continue to work extremely well together and it's very possible that we could take that long-awaited step to the top of the podium on Friday."

Racing action for the Crown Royal 200 at the Glen, part of the AMD at the Glen NASCAR NEXTEL Cup weekend, begins this morning at 11 a.m. with opening practice. A 15-minute qualifying session goes green at 4:30 p.m. with a final warmup scheduled into the twilight at 7 p.m. The 82-lap or two-hour Crown Royal 200 will get the green flag at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, with SPEED Channel's tape-delayed coverage beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern.

-credit: GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty , Bob Stallings