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Jul 25, 2013 - 06:31 AM
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GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Alex Gurney And Jon Fogarty Looking For A Win
Posted by: newsla on Jul 25, 2013 - 06:28 AM
Grand Am News
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Alex Gurney And Jon Fogarty Looking For A Win And A Major Championship Move At Indy



GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will be racing for one more 2013 win and a major move in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype point standings in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Corvette Daytona Prototype at this week’s 2nd Annual Brickyard Grand Prix, July 25 – 26, on the road course at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).

 

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The featured three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix can be seen in same-day coverage on SPEED this Friday, July 26, at 7:30 pm. EDT/4:30 p.m. PDT.

GAINSCO, based in Texas, scored a major “home game” victory in the second race of the year at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in early March. That win anchored a streak of three-consecutive podium finishes, including second at Barber Motorsports Park and third at Road Atlanta in April, but similar results have been harder to come by in the more recent races.

A fifth-place finish two races ago at Mid-Ohio has been GAINSCO’s best result so far this summer. Nevertheless, the early-season success has kept both the BobStallingsCars.com No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon,” and Gurney and Fogarty, in the thick of this year’s Daytona Prototype team and driver championships.

“It’s amazing how wide open this championship is,” Gurney said. “It certainly hasn't been this way for a long time. There are five or six teams that are capable of the title at this point so each of these remaining races are really critical. It’s definitely a special feeling to be in the hunt this late in the season with the pressure starting to mount. We've always finish strong as a team and we're planning on making it happen again.”

GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Gurney and Fogarty captured the 2007 and 2009 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series team and driver titles and have been in the hunt for this year’s championships since the COTA victory.

Both the No. 99 team, and the Gurney and Fogarty duo, have 189 points to rank fourth in points in both championships. GAINSCO’s 189 points are just one shy of third place, two points from second and only five points out of the lead in both the team and driver battles heading into Friday’s race.

“The team is focused on getting the most out of ourselves and the ‘Red Dragon,’” Fogarty said. “If we can do that at Indy and the remaining races we will be in the championship fight come season end. The GAINSCO team is always thinking win, but we recognize that strong finishes are equally valuable at this stage.”

Although the race itself didn’t go GAINSCO’s way, the No. 99 showed plenty of pace in last year’s inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix. Both drivers were quick in practice and Fogarty established the official Daytona Prototype track record when he won the pole in qualifying.

“I think we will be stronger this year than last,” Fogarty said. “The team has a better understanding of the car, and with the extended straightaway at Indy, setup is critical. I expect a very competitive weekend. There are some new driver pairings and a second Ganassi car which all have speed, talent and desire. It should be a good race.”

Among the challenges GAINSCO and the competition will face this weekend is a tight two-day event schedule and a deeply talented pool of Daytona Prototype teams and drivers.

“I think the field is incredibly tight this year, and it seems there are so many fast cars and more and more fast drivers,” Gurney said. “There's not a whole lot of track time at Indy but if we can unload well, I think we should be very strong.”

A decisive victory for GAINSCO at Indy would also do wonders for the team’s bid for a third set of Daytona Prototype championships.

“Putting a stomping on the competition would be great, and I would love to do it at Indy this weekend,” Fogarty said. “I know it could only help in our championship hunt so I hope we can achieve that. Having said that, we need to be smart and maximize points. We are fortunate that all the teams have had issues this year, but that will not continue, so I am looking for a string of strong podiums.”

Gurney’s family name is a winning one at Indy, and he feels the history and heritage every time he visits the Brickyard. His legendary father Dan Gurney retired from driving in 1970 after finishing third in the Indianapolis 500, following back-to-back second-place finishes in 1968 and 1969, and later won the race as an owner with his All American Racers (AAR) team. Gurney-built Eagles also won the Indy 500 in ‘68, 1973 and in AAR’s 1975 victory.

“The Speedway is an amazing place, without a doubt,” Gurney said. “Every time I drive down the front straight and across the bricks, I have an awareness of all that has taken place there. The brake zone at the end of the front straight is quite grippy, but the infield is very slick and takes a long time to rubber in. It has some nice combinations that can be fun when you get them right.”

Fogarty also enjoys racing on the unique Indy road course.

“The track is fun to drive and unique in the inclusion of the oval portion running clockwise,” Fogarty said. “The layout with the long straight makes setup very important and, with GT cars, it can really mix up the race. Last year we had a very slick infield. Hopefully, with the additional running this year, that will improve.”

A two-day weekday event, the Brickyard Grand Prix begins with practice Thursday morning before Daytona Prototype qualifying that afternoon at 4:35 p.m. EDT. The only scheduled on-track activity for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series on Friday is the featured three-hour Brickyard Grand Prix at 5:30 p.m. EDT.


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