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Apr 20, 2013 - 06:41 AM
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Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing To Start Second In Saturday’s
Posted by: newsla on Apr 20, 2013 - 06:35 AM
Grand Am News
Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing To Start Second In Saturday’S Debut Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Race At Road Atlanta After Qualifying Wash Out


GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty will start on the outside of the front row in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype in tomorrow’s inaugural GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car race at Road Atlanta after steady rain forced Friday’s qualifying session to be cancelled.

 

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The featured event of the first GRAND-AM Road Racing weekend ever at Road Atlanta, Saturday’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race can be seen live on SPEED at 4:30 p.m. EDT/1:30 p.m. PDT. The timed 2-3/4-hour sprint is Round 4 of 12 races on the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series calendar.

Fogarty, GAINSCO’s usual qualifying driver, was shooting for his third-straight 2013 pole after qualifying first in the last two races at Barber Motorsports Park and Circuit of The Americas (COTA). He also would have been attempting his fourth consecutive new-track pole after topping qualifying in the debut COTA race last month and at the inaugural Detroit Belle Isle and Indianapolis Motor Speedway events in 2012.

Instead, Fogarty will grid the No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” just alongside the rival No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley and driver Memo Rojas after the Road Atlanta starting lineup was determined by 2013 Daytona Prototype team points standings.

“You always want to try and win another pole but it is still good to be starting on the front row,” said Fogarty, who will run the race’s opening stint and then hand off to co-driver Alex Gurney. “Being a longer race, starting position is not that super critical, but the further forward you are the better. It is nice that our points position allows that.”

GAINSCO won the 2007 and 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Championships but this year has been the team’s best start to a season. After finishing seventh in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, GAINSCO, Gurney and Fogarty won from the pole at COTA and finished second two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.

The strong showings elevated GAINSCO to second in the early-season point standings heading to Atlanta, just two points behind the Ganassi team, 93 – 91.
“The rain out kind of worked in our favor because we have really been working on race setup the whole time,” Gurney said. “Judging by the speed of a lot of the cars in practice, I am not sure if we were a threat for pole or not. So, we are actually in good shape I think, having done a lot of race setup work and trying to get the right aero balance. This worked out nice.”

A victory in tomorrow’s race would give GAINSCO, Gurney, Fogarty and the BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 team the Daytona Prototype championship lead.

“The ultimate goal is to come out of here with the points lead, so I need to be sure to hand the car off to Alex in good shape and hopefully in front of the 01,” Fogarty said. “It is nice to have a longer warm-up on race day to run through some pit stop practice and driver changes. It should be an exciting race, the track layout causes traffic jams with the GT cars, and it has been very competitive so far on the time sheets in testing and practice.”

Race-day Saturday begins with an extended 45-minute final practice warm-up session at 9:15 a.m. EDT. The featured GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race is scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Noteworthy

- Gurney hasn’t raced at Road Atlanta since 2008 in the Barber Dodge Pro Series. He immediately noticed something he didn’t remember in his return to the 2.54-mile road course. “I don’t remember it having such crazy elevation change,” Gurney said. “Once you are on track, you kind of almost disregard that in a way, you get immediately in the moment, so you don’t notice it as much when you are on track. But when you are standing on the side of the track you definitely say ‘wow,’ I don’t remember it looking like that."

- Having enough points to earn a front-row starting position after a qualifying rain out is just another plus of GAINSCO’s positive season. “I have to say the performance of the ‘Red Dragon’ in the past two races has been superb,” Fogarty said. “When the car is fast is seems like lady luck is more likely to smile upon you. The effort from the GAINSCO team has always been and will always be 110%. I don’t believe our standards would allow us to try any harder, but the early speed and success livens up the intangible mojo that is important in any competitive endeavor, so that’s a good thing.”

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