for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Gurney and Fogarty in Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the GlenRepeat Sahlen's Win Would Be First Rolex Series Glen Triple and First Victory of 2008
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 4, 2008) — Defending Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Champions GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will be seeking a record third consecutive win at Watkins Glen International – and their first victory of the 2008 season – when the green flag drops for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen on the legendary New York road course this Saturday, June 7, at 11:15 a.m. ET. Live coverage on SPEED starts with the first two hours of the race at 11 a.m. ET and continues from 2:30 p.m. ET to the finish later on Saturday.
Last year, Gurney, Fogarty and the GAINSCO team turned in a pair of dominating performances to win not only the Sahlen's Six Hour but also August's Crown Royal 200 that runs on the Glen's NASCAR short-course layout. Gurney and Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley became the first team and driver combination to score a season sweep of the Glen Rolex Series races and the record-setting could continue this weekend. No Rolex Series driver and team combo has ever won three consecutive races at the Glen, but a victory in the Sahlen's Six Hour would do the trick for the GAINSCO squad. Equally as important, a win Saturday would be the GAINSCO team's first of 2008 after a few near misses in the year's first five events.
"This track has been so good to us; we've gotten multiple poles, podiums and wins here since we started coming to the Glen in 2005," said Gurney, who nailed the pole for last year's Six Hour on his very first qualifying lap and then set the fastest race lap less than 15 minutes into the event. "Last year our car was just on rails. This was the race where we started our 2007 winning streak and we'd obviously like to start the same streak again. We all know we need to do so if we're going to catch Ganassi in the championship. We're excited and well prepared to get back at it."
With its 2007 Six Hour win, GAINSCO became the season's first repeat winners, but the team was just getting started. They won the next two races at Mid-Ohio and Daytona and picked up three more victories before the year was over to end the season with a record seven wins in 14 races, and both the Rolex Series Driver and Team Championships.
"Getting our second win was crucial, more important than the first in my opinion," said Fogarty, who joined Gurney for GAINSCO's first victory at Mexico City earlier in 2007. "Once you win twice it shows that you have the correct formula for success. It really gets the ball rolling and that was certainly the case in 2007. I remember seeing Alex at the hotel the morning after the race and the first thing I said to him was, 'What's up, two-time DP winner?' It felt like we could win all the remaining races at that point, and we pretty much had to if we were to win the championship."
While Gurney will qualify the No. 99 this weekend as he customarily does for the longer Rolex Series races, Fogarty joins his teammate in another Watkins Glen streak. Combined, the teammates have won the last three Rolex Series poles at the Glen: Fogarty in last August's Crown Royal 200 and Gurney in the 2007 Six Hour and the 2006 Crown Royal 200. A Gurney pole in qualifying this Friday would give the GAINSCO team a record four consecutive top starting spots at the Glen.
With five of 14 races in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series now in the record books, Gurney, Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO team are third in the respective driver and team championship standings with 130 points.
Gurney and Fogarty will begin their visit to Watkins Glen by supporting the track's Read for Speed program at a local elementary school. The drivers will read to groups of young students between 10 – 11 a.m. at Watkins Glen Elementary on Thursday. Both Gurney and Fogarty have toddlers at home and have had plenty of practice on the finer points of reading books to children …
Cristiano da Matta, who led 10 laps in his return to racing in a second GAINSCO Pontiac Riley one race ago at Laguna Seca, will be joining the team at Watkins Glen this weekend. Da Matta is not scheduled to drive but will be onsite to continue to work alongside and become more familiar with the GAINSCO team. The May 17 event at Laguna Seca was da Matta's first time racing since recovering from a near-fatal August 2006 testing accident at Road America …
The great history of Watkins Glen is not lost on either Gurney or Fogarty. "Watkins Glen is one of the last great road courses in this country," said Gurney, who is the son of American racing legend Dan Gurney. "My Dad always tells me about how the track used to be so incredible, running through the town and how special the long downhill section was. It's amazing that you can drive around it now and see where these crazy guys raced!" Fogarty also appreciates the high-speed past of Watkins Glen and toured the original track in one of his first visits. "I did get to see most of the old track in 1998 with Alex," Fogarty said. "I remember him recalling his father's experience running the old track and 'terrifying' was a common theme. The long downhills would have been absolutely insane but it looked fun nonetheless, especially as you enter town. It is always great to go to places with history and even more so when that history revolves around racing." …
The current Watkins Glen road course also get high marks from the GAINSCO drivers. "The current long course still has real character and is so much fun to drive," Gurney said. "It is very near the top of my list as far as tracks go," Fogarty said. "It is really awesome and has just about everything a driver could ask for, on and off the track. Last year Alex and I found a good pizza place in town called Jerlandos and we look forward to getting our victory pizza again this year."