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Jan 25, 2013 - 08:53 AM
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Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing And Alex Gurney Qualify Eighth For The Rolex 24
Posted by: newsla on Jan 25, 2013 - 07:01 AM
Grand Am News
Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing And Alex Gurney Qualify Eighth For The Rolex 24 In No 99 Gainsco 'Red Dragon'


GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Alex Gurney clocked in with the eighth fastest lap time – and the second quickest for a Corvette Daytona Prototype – Thursday in qualifying for this weekend’s Rolex 24 At Daytona in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette.

 

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Gurney, the 2007 Rolex 24 pole winner with GAINSCO, posted his fastest time of the session on his sixth and final flying lap with a time of 1:42.032 (125.606 mph). Although the lap was within a few tenths of the similar No. 90 Corvette Daytona Prototype of Richard Westbrook that qualified fifth, both Chevy-engined cars were well over a second off the pace of the BMW-powered Rileys that swept the front row.

“I feel fine, the car worked OK, but definitely disappointed at the gap to the front,” Gurney said. “GRAND-AM gave us a restrictor but I think they need to do exactly the opposite. It’s a long way off. We want to try and win the race but, right now, speed wise that doesn’t look very good. We are mostly just lacking the straight-line speed.”

Gurney will co-drive in this weekend’s race with longtime teammate Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO’s Rolex 24 specialists Memo Gidley and Darren Law. The 2013 Rolex 24 starts the eighth straight season Gurney and Fogarty will co-drive together in the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon.” They are now the longest-running pair on the grid in terms of consecutive active starts with 87 since first driving together five races into the 2006 season.

“To be honest, it’s about what I thought it would be in qualifying,” Fogarty said. “I don’t know, maybe your expectations of what the outside world can see is just different. We live this, we are out there trying to pound the payment to make our cars go fast, and we have a pretty clear idea of where the balance of performance is. We knew this was going to be the situation and maybe this will prove a point.”

Despite the persistent gap in pace to the leaders, Fogarty was pleased with his co-drivers’ performance and the possibilities a 24-hour race holds.

“Alex did a good job, the car seems somewhat comfortable to drive, and we are just going to go out and keep ripping off laps,” Fogarty said. “It is a 24-hour race, but outright pace in this day and age is pretty important at Daytona. So we will just go out and put our best foot forward and get the best result we possibly can.”

Gidley returns to GAINSCO for the second-straight Rolex 24 after helping debut the new Corvette Daytona Prototype last year. Law, who co-drove on 2009’s overall winning team, is making his first start in the GAINSCO/BobStallingsCars.com No. 99.

“Other than being down on straight-line speed, which I think is pretty obvious, there is a level of preparation that comes with the team having had the car for a year,” Gidley said. “It feels like, so far in all of the tests, that we have just really gone down through the lists and broken in the gearbox, run the brakes, run this and run that, and really sort of prepared. So, I think from a preparation standpoint I feel really good about this race.”

Gidley is personally prepared for the Rolex 24 as well.

“From my personal standpoint, I have spent the last two months physically training harder than I ever have and I am ready for this,” Gidley said. “Anything can happen in a 24-hour race and it might as well be us coming up on the positive side this year.”

GAINSCO’s best Rolex 24 finish was a runner-up placing in 2008 with Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser joining Gurney and Fogarty in the No. 99. The team is returning to a four-driver rotation for the 2013 race for the first time in three years.

Thursday’s schedule at the Rolex 24 At Daytona concludes with night practice that is presently underway until 8 p.m. EST. Friday features final practice before Saturday’s running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona that starts at 3:30 p.m. EST.

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