Fourth For Friday's Crown Royal 200 Rolex Series Race at Watkins Glen
Fogarty and GAINSCO Team Hold Second-Row Spot Despite Late Off-Track Excursion
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and driver Jon Fogarty will start fourth in Friday's Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International after turning a lap time of 1:06.163 (133.307 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley in today's qualifying session for the race. Round 11 of 14 in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series schedule, the Crown Royal 200 can be seen in same-day coverage on SPEED Friday at 8 p.m. ET.
Fogarty and the No. 99 GAINSCO team were the fastest Pontiac Riley in qualifying but will still take to the grid behind a front-row consisting of decidedly quicker Porsche and Ford powered Daytona Prototypes. Fogarty was driving flat-out midway through the session in an attempt to win the pole but went off course in The Glen's back-straight "Bus Stop" chicane. Fogarty was uninjured and the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley was undamaged, but the black-flag stoppage the incident created forced Fogarty and the team to watch the remainder of qualifying from the pits.
"The team told me on the radio what the No. 61 team had done for a time and I had to just absolutely go for it," Fogarty said. "I probably just took it into the bus stop a little too much but that was the only way we were going to potentially get the pole. It didn't work. We can't make up that much time in the corners. We are starting fourth, that's not a bad position. The car feels good, but it's just going to be a difficult race. Some of the other guys are fast, they are just really fast."
Fogarty was third quickest when he went off track but had that time disallowed and was parked for the final five minutes of qualifying as penalties for causing the black-flag incident. Fogarty made his way back to the pits in the No. 99 and watched with Gurney and the rest of the team as they only fell one spot in the qualifying order. Fogarty's disallowed lap time of 1:05.982 (133.673 mph) would have held up for third on the grid.
"We are just going to try to do the best that we can," Gurney said. "We knew going in that this was not going to be one of our strongest tracks, but we still think we can win and that's what we are going to try to do tomorrow."
In a pair of practice sessions earlier on Friday, Gurney and Fogarty each posted second-fastest lap times. Gurney was second quickest in the day's first practice with a lap time of 1:06.390 (132.851 mph) while Fogarty was second fastest on an improving track in practice session two with a lap time of 1:06.052 (133.531 mph).
Thursday's schedule for the Crown Royal 200 concludes tonight with an hour of night practice at 7 p.m. ET. Tomorrow's race starts at 6:30 p.m. ET for 82 laps on the 2.45-mile Glen NASCAR short course. The Crown Royal 200 has a two-hour time limit and darkness could be an issue if the race runs until 8:30 p.m. ET.