Grand Prix of Road America Presented by VP Racing Fuels
Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing™ Porsche 911 GT3 R
Rounds 4 and 5 of the 2017 PWC Sprint Championship
June 25, 2017
It was a bittersweet weekend for the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Team at Road America. The event started on a positive note with Jon Fogarty among the quickest in the opening practice sessions. From the start, it was evident the testing program the team has been working on throughout the summer was paying off as they rolled off the trailer with a quick Porsche. The progress continued Saturday morning as Jon Fogarty held pole position in qualifying for most of the session only to be passed at the very end of the session. Settling for third was just fine…the best qualifying result so far for the Red Dragon™ while competing in the Pirelli World Challenge series.
Starting from the inside of row two on Saturday afternoon, Fogarty felt optimistic…especially with his very own cheering section. The GAINSCO Auto Insurance® Circle of Champions were on grid to give the Red Dragon and Fogarty one final “Good Luck” before the green flag. Famous for intense, quick battles, Sprint competition in GT racing is often filled with wild starts and Saturday was no different. Adderly Fong in the Bentley and Johnny O’Connell in the Cadillac collided heading into turn five. Just behind them, Fogarty lost one position in effort to avoid the melee. Shortly after, and with a vengeance to gain back positions, Fogarty made a mistake and spun. He returned to the track in the 12th position. The Red Dragon had become a handful, but Fogarty held on and battled a very loose racecar to finish 10th.
Sunday brought renewed optimism with an early final race, starting just before 10am. Track conditions were cool and Jon Fogarty and his Engineer, John Ward, were confident they had made the right changes to the car to challenge the field. Fogarty took the green flag from the 9th position, which was based on his fastest lap time from Saturday’s race. Once again it was a crazy start, with doors banging through the field, fighting for position. Fogarty was hit twice by Peter Kox in the RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3, which allowed Alec Udell to get by for position. An opening lap incident forced a full course yellow for 8 laps before the field went green again. Fogarty knew he had a good car was prepared to race hard for a top-five finish. He had a good exit through the first series of turns and pulled out to pass at least one and possibly two cars on the straight heading to turn five. Three wide, racing Kox and his Acura teammate Ryan Eversely, contact occurred and Fogarty ricocheted hard into the concrete wall, then skidded down the racetrack. He came to a rest at the entry of turn five and thankfully, was not injured. Kox’s day also came to an end in the incident. The rest of the field dodged bits and pieces from the accident but then returned to the pit lane as the officials decided to red-flag the race to clean up explosion of car parts scattered everywhere from Fogarty’s and Kox’s cars. Although it was a terribly disappointing end to a challenging weekend, it was very clear from the beginning that the Red Dragon has made large gains through testing and will be competitive again upon its return to competition next month at Mid-Ohio.
RESULTS: POSITION TIME SPEED
Practice: 3rd 2:05.889 115.75 mph
Qualifying: 3rd 2:04.471 117.07 mph
Race 1: 9th 1:19.520
Race 2: DNF – Contact
Jon Fogarty on the race: “I can’t really comment on the accident until I see the tapes. I’m just absolutely gutted. It was a huge hit headed down into turn five, and I’m pretty sure the car is done. Obviously, a lot of emotions go through your mind after an incident like that, but the top one is frustration. I think we had a good car today. The GAINSCO Auto Insurance Porsche was working well, I felt like we had a car that could run up front. I was in the process of passing two guys and somehow it all went sideways. Unfortunately, the car is badly destroyed. I am ok and I am so grateful for that. Porsche builds safe cars. Not much I can say other than I am extremely disappointed in the way the weekend played out. I’ve got to say thank you to my team…they have a big job ahead of them. I also want to thank the GAINSCO Circle of Champions for their support this weekend. It’s an honor to race for them; I just wish we’d had something to celebrate at the end of it.”