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Mar 03, 2013 - 07:44 AM
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Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Takes 'Home-Turf' Texas Victory
Posted by: newsla on Mar 03, 2013 - 07:41 AM
Grand Am News
Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Takes 'Home-Turf' Texas Victory At The Grand-Am Of The Americas Presented By Gainsco And Total


GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing snapped an 18-month winless streak with a storybook triumph Saturday on their Texas “Home Turf” where team drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty co-drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory in the inaugural GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and Total.

 

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Just the second major event held at the new Circuit of The Americas 3.4-mile Grand Prix circuit, Saturday’s race was the first in the history of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series to be run in Texas. With both GAINSCO Auto Insurance and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing headquartered in the greater Dallas area, the GRAND-AM of The Americas was considered a “must-win” race and GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty delivered a hard-fought victory.

“This is by far the biggest win we have ever had in the United States, right here at home in Texas, and ranks right up there with our first ever win in Mexico City back in 2007, said GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Team Owner Bob Stallings. “But in terms of degree of difficulty this was by far the sweetest win, and just how magical is this? We had hundreds of agents and guests out here, we had the pole, we were the race’s lead presenting sponsor, we are in Texas, we are a Texas team and it has been a long time since we won. What a perfect race to make a comeback!”

Gurney took the lead less than 15 minutes from the finish of the timed 2-3/4 hour race when debuting and race leading driver Brendon Hartley was sidelined after coming together with a GT car. Gurney then held off both runner-up Ryan Dalziel and third-place finisher Scott Pruett in the final eight laps. The No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” crossed the finish line .427 of a second ahead of Dalziel and to the cheers of the 500 GAINSCO guests, agents and VIPs in attendance.

“It was a very intense race,” Gurney said. “Man, that last half hour seemed to last forever with Scott behind me for a long time. I knew how quick he was, even with the damage his car had on the front end, and then I guess Ryan got by him. It was just so hectic there, I was just trying not to make mistakes and protect the inside a little bit when I could but, wow, what a battle.

“I think we created a lot of race fans today. We had 500 GAINSCO guests here and it was just a perfect day to win at our home race. I couldn’t be more stoked.”

Fogarty started the No. 99 from the pole after earning a record-extending 24th career pole in Friday qualifying and quickly realized what a tough day it was going to be.

“It was just an incredible GRAND-AM race as they often times are,” Fogarty said. “Really happy to be at the top of the podium, it has been a while for the GAINSCO team, but ultimately that is the best part about today. My stint was really eventful, just like the rest of the race. I immediately fell back to third and got out-dragged at the start going into Turn 1 and it turned into a battle from there and there was a lot of going back and forth.”

Fogarty turned the No. 99 over in lead pack contention but closing driver Gurney had to deal with more than just the intense competition.

“I lost my radio for most of the race,” Gurney said. “They could hear me but I couldn’t hear them so I wasn’t getting any feedback from the team most of the time. It started working at the end when we did our last pit stop but before then I was kind of flying blind a little bit.”

The victory snapped an 18-month win drought for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing that spanned the entire 2012 season and back to the August, 2011 race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. Austin was the 16th career victory for GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty and came in the team’s 102 race start. Gurney and Fogarty have co-driven in the last 89 of those races together with GAINSCO, dating back to 2006, and the duo is the longest active driver pairing in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

The victory also moved GAINSCO/Bob Stallings back into the thick of the early season GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship points race after a seventh-place finish in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. Both the team and drivers have 59 points to rank second in the standings, just six points behind leaders Pruett and Memo Rojas and the No. 01 Ganassi Racing entry.

Noteworthy

- Stallings was once again impressed by both of his drivers on Saturday. “Alex Gurney, I don’t know if anybody really realizes this, drove a magnificent race,” Stallings said. “If Alex had made one mistake we would not have won this race. He just did a gut-out job, was very courageous and just kept his head down and got the job done. I am very proud of him and Jon Fogarty who once again proved his power by winning another record pole here too.”


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