Watkins Glen II: Blackhawk Racing preview

Stallings, Gurney hope to keep momentum building in first outing at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.- The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series has a new fan favorite - the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley, driven by Bob Stallings and Alex ...

Stallings, Gurney hope to keep momentum building in first outing at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.- The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series has a new fan favorite - the No. 99 Gainsco Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley, driven by Bob Stallings and Alex Gurney - and looking at the results, it's easy to see why. In just three starts, the duo has claimed three top-10 finishes and a pole - and nearly a race win - at Barber Motorsports Park two weeks ago.

Gurney's pole-winning lap and the team's subsequent outstanding drive there firmly established the No. 99 as a new threat to the Daytona Prototype dominance of Riley, Ganassi and Howard-Boss. Just three other teams have placed their car in the top 10 in every start.

This week, Alex and Bob face another learning experience - the CompUSA 200 at the Glen, a 200-mile sprint race at the historic Watkins Glen road course in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Gurney last raced here in 1998 and for Stallings, this will be his first-ever outing at The Glen.

In spite of that fact, Stallings is confident that the expertise of the Gainsco crew will give him the car he needs to be competitive on the fast and unforgiving 2.45 mile short course.

"I am always a little nervous going to an untried venue but I am constantly reassured by a team that gives us a great car no matter what the circumstances. Crew chief Mark Lubin and the rest of the guys seem to handle whatever is thrown at them and (engineer) Kyle Brannan is a wizard at giving us a setup that makes Alex fast and me a positive factor on the track," Stallings said.

For his part, Alex is looking forward to racing on the same hallowed ground where 40 years ago, his father Dan raced Formula One cars.

"Racing where the United States Grand Prix once was is very special to me," Gurney said. "It's a historic place that a lot of people love. The short schedule will make things somewhat tougher, but after our strong showing at Barber I'm confident we'll be up front here as well."

That compressed schedule is due to the race being run in conjunction with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, which promises to expose tens of thousands of new fans to the exciting, wheel-to-wheel action in the Rolex Series.

"It's always fun racing in front of a big NASCAR crowd," Stallings said. "We always seem to make a lot of new friends and fans with each and every passing race."

Those friends and fans will get their first chance to see the No. 99 Gainsco car in action on Thursday, when practice for the CompUSA 200 at the Glen begins at 11 a.m. Eastern time. The Daytona Prototypes will qualify later that afternoon, at 3:45 p.m. The green flag will drop on the field of 23 DPs and 24 GT cars on Friday at 6 p.m. Eastern time. The race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel on a same-day-delay basis, Friday at 10 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Pacific. Live timing and Web radio coverage of all the exciting Rolex Sports Car Series action is available at www.Grand- Am.com.

Blackhawk Motorsports has been committed to excellence in road racing since its formation in 2001. The team campaigns the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. Owner/driver Bob Stallings captured the 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic National Championship, while co-driver Alex Gurney - the son of road racing great Dan Gurney - is an open-wheel standout making his first foray into sports car racing. The team is supported by GAINSCO Auto Insurance and Wells Fargo, and proudly partners with Pontiac, Riley Technologies, BBS Wheels, Sparco and Ringers Gloves.

The primary sponsor of the No. 99 Blackhawk Motorsports Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO Auto Insurance, a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer that distributes policies through a network of independent agents across the Sun Belt. The company is publicly traded on Amex under the symbol GAN. GAINSCO Auto Insurance is a growing company in the automobile insurance industry and is using the racing program to promote its "Are You Driven?" marketing theme that is intended to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.com.

-bhr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Dan Gurney , Bob Stallings