Grand Prix of Texas at Circuit of The Americas

Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing™ Porsche 911 GT3 R

2017 PWC SprintX Championship

September 3, 2017

The final SprintX race of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge season was expectedly unpredictable, filled with action- packed racing, damage, penalties and perseverance.  Coming off the best finish of the season (third) for the Red Dragon™ Saturday, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing drivers Jon Fogarty and Wolf Henzler started the final race of the weekend from the sixth row, in the 12th position. The starting position was based on the team’s fastest lap during Saturday’s race.  Mid-pack is a tricky place to start in terms of keeping the car clean as there is often some form of contact to avoid, and today was no exception.  It was a perfect recipe for hard-fought action.  As the green flag fell with the SprintX Championship to be determined in today’s final round, the field charged down the fast front straight at COTA leading up a steep hill and into a hairpin at turn one, the carnage quickly evolved in turn two with the championship point leading Cadillac and Saturday’s race-winning Ferrari.  It looked like it would be a great start for Wolf as he pulled to the outside charging for position and passing several cars through turn one. His focus changed to defense quickly as he was nearly taken out by the spinning cars ahead in turn two.  Wolf masterfully avoided contact by taking the Red Dragon off course, but lost several positions avoiding the melee.  He did report a vibration, which turned out to be a damaged splitter, and the front bumper of the Porsche had a three-inch gap where it had come loose from the chassis. With the mandatory pit stop quickly approaching, Wolf had just a few laps to race under green conditions, giving the team time to prepare a bandage for the damaged bumper.  When the pits opened, Wolf turned over the car to Jon Fogarty executing a perfect driver change…too perfect.  The Red Dragon pulled out of the pits one tenth of a second before the mandatory one-minute mark.  Fogarty was forced to return to the pits for a drive-through penalty.  The penalty added fuel to the fire in the Red Dragon’s belly as Fogarty returned to the track with just under 30 minutes remaining.  He knew he had damage to contend with; if the bumper detached any further he would have a race-ending situation, but he also knew he had a fast car.  Forced to avoid contact with any of the tracks bumps and curbs, Fogarty still managed to click off impressive lap times, one after another, and as a result, passed car after car, eight in total…with a damaged Red Dragon. He took the checkered flag inside the top-ten in the ninth position.

 

Position           Time               Speed

Practice 1:                  15th                  1:50.272          99.59 mph

Practice 2:                  2nd                   2:07.002          97.24 mph

Qualifying:                 8th (Fogarty)    2:06.785          97.41 mph

Race 1:                       3rd                    2:08.949          95.78 mph

Race 2:                       9th (Henzler)    2:07.752          96.67 mph       Started 12th

 

Jon Fogarty: “These weekends are so much about momentum and unfortunately we weren’t able to get a fast lap in yesterday, which put Wolf in the 12th place starting position. He got caught up in an incident in turn two through no fault of his, and did a really good job of not getting taken out, but that caused some damage to the car, and that is what happens when you start back there. It was super unfortunate because we had a really good race car today, much better than yesterday.  Then the drive-through penalty for the pit violation probably cost us another two positions, but nonetheless, there are a lot of positives.  We learned a lot yesterday and put together a much better race car for today.  The No.99 Red Dragon was good to drive today.  We’ll take that and put it in our book of information and carry on to Sonoma, where we’ll use that information and hopefully have a smooth weekend there and have a great result.”

 

Wolf Henzler: “Unfortunately today was not as good as yesterday.  I had a good start, passed some cars, took the outside into turn one and everything was looking good.  The heading into turn two, which is a flat out right-hander, there were cars spinning and I lost several positions avoiding the crash.  Once we went green, I noticed a vibration in the car at around 140 mph which turned out to be a loose bumper and fortunately our team was able to tape it during the pit stop.  It wasn’t our day today, I was hoping for more for GAINSCO Auto Insurance today and in our final SprintX race of the season.”

 

Bob Stallings: “It was a good weekend overall.  Today there was another ugly start up front, a lot of action and Wolf got hit hard.  The front bumper came off the chassis almost three inches, and the splitter was very damaged on the left side, so obviously we had a damaged car. Despite all of that we could race from 17th to 9th and in the last 18 laps, we were never out of the top five in terms of lap times. In fact, the second to the last lap, we were the second fastest car on track.  So, plenty of positives, both Wolf and Jon did a great job, the team did a great job. That’s racing…you get hit, it doesn’t always turn out the way you like, but our guys fought the whole way through and I am proud of them.  Go GAINSCO!”