Gurney and Fogarty seize second consecutive podium for GAINSCO team in accident-marred EMCO Gears Classic
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 24, 2006) — In a wild race that featured six full-course cautions, Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and the GAINSCO Auto Insurance No. 99 Pontiac Riley led 31 of 99 laps at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on their way to a third-place finish in this afternoon’s Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic. The race was cut short by a massive accident on the backstretch involving Joey Hand in the #21 Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3, and the yellow flag for that incident briefly led to scoring confusion. The No. 10 SunTrust car, driven by Max Angelelli, passed both Gurney and second-place Jorg Bergmeister on the final lap, but the pass was disallowed by stewards as they determined it occurred under the caution.
The strong performance marks another in a string of highly competitive outings for the GAINSCO team — the second straight podium and the sixth consecutive top-10. While the team would have loved to get its maiden victory, nobody’s disappointed with a finish that moved the 99 up to 6th in the points, just one point out of the top 5.
Gurney, who took over for Fogarty on Lap 72 and drove the car to the finish, said the car took a little while to come up to speed, hindering his chase of the leaders in the closing stages of the race.
“The car needed a couple laps to come in, and on the last couple laps I was catching the leaders pretty quick, but there wasn’t enough time left to get up there,” Gurney said. “We’re in the hunt at the end of all these races and that’s what we need to do to get a victory. There’s five races left and we want to be on the podium at all of them.”
Leading all drivers with 31 laps led, Fogarty again put the 99 machine up front and on top of the leaderboard, completing a driving duo that some are calling the best in the Rolex Series.
“Our strategy played out the way we wanted it to — we were in the top-3 at the end of the race and in position to go for the win, but the cautions just meant that we ran out of time,” Fogarty said. “We did a great job and got in position to win, which is what we want to do every race. It’s just a matter of getting the breaks to come our way, because clearly we’ve got the speed and we’ve got the consistency to get a victory. The car was very driveable throughout the evening and obviously very quick, which is a testament to our crew and our engineer. They gave us a fast car and fast pit stops.”
Team owner Bob Stallings was again thrilled to get his team on the podium, and he credited the hard-working GAINSCO Boys for preparing a car that gave Gurney and Fogarty the tools they needed to succeed.
“We did everything right today. We called a good race, the crew was on the money on the pit stops and Jon and Alex drove flawlessly. Alex just couldn’t run them down in the time we had — another 10 minutes and things might have been different,” Stallings said. “I can’t say enough about our engineer Kyle Brannan, our crew chief Terry Wilbert and everyone else — we’re coming together and showing that this team is one of the teams to beat every week.”
After this evening’s race, the team will return to the track tomorrow to prepare the GAINSCO Auto Insurance machine for the next race, in just four days’ time. The Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona Beach, Fla. marks the Rolex Series’ return to the fabled Daytona International Speedway for a two-hour, 45-minute sprint race under the lights on Thursday, June 29. The team will practice, qualify and race on the same day, with practice kicking off at 9:30 a.m., qualifying scheduled for 12:40 p.m. and the green flag falling on the 70-lap, 250-mile event at 7 p.m. Eastern time. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel. Race weekend updates from the team are available on the From the Pit blog at GAINSCOracing.blogspot.com, and Internet radio coverage and live timing and scoring are available at www.Grand-Am.com.
The primary sponsor of the No. 99 Blackhawk Motorsports Daytona Prototype is GAINSCO Auto Insurance (Amex:GAN), a Dallas, Texas-based auto insurer that distributes policies through a network of nearly 4,000 independent agents across the Sunbelt. One of the fastest-growing carriers in the auto insurance industry, GAINSCO uses its “Are You Driven?” motorsports sponsorship and marketing campaign to build brand awareness and advance its distribution strategies. For more information, visit www.GAINSCO.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 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. With six top-10s and four podiums in the last six races, drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty are climbing the championship standings in pursuit of a top-5 in the title fight — and are hungry for their first victory. The team is supported by GAINSCO Auto Insurance, and proudly partners with Pontiac, Riley Technologies and Puma. For more information, visit www.GAINSCOracing.com.
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