GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Driver Fogarty among Honorees at Thursday's 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship Celebration
Two-Time Atlantic Champion Joins Vasser on Top-10 Team of Series All-Time Greats
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing driver Jon Fogarty will be among the honored drivers today at Road Atlanta race course as one of 10 finalists to be voted to the 35th Anniversary Atlantic Championship All-Star Team.
Also included in the Top-10 All-Star Team is frequent GAINSCO endurance-race driver Jimmy Vasser who, like teammates Fogarty and Alex Gurney, made an early-career mark in the competitive open-wheel series that has for many been the final step before reaching the top levels of racing.
Fogarty, a two-time Atlantic Champion in 2002 and 2004, was elected to the exclusive team by an esteemed panel of auto racing journalists and photographers who selected the top 10 from a field of 25 finalists earlier this year. Fogarty and his fellow top Atlantic peers will be honored in a special presentation at Road Atlanta where the series – currently known as Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda – will bring its 35th Anniversary season to a close with its final race of the season on Friday.
Known primarily as the Toyota Atlantic Championship, or simply Formula Atlantic for the majority of the last two decades, the series is the longest continuously running American road racing championship still in competition. It is also considered by many to be among the premier proving grounds for emerging auto racing talent in America, and Fogarty and his fellow 35th Anniversary All-Stars can well support the claim.
Fogarty, just one of five drivers in Atlantic history to win multiple championships and the only American to repeat, is joined on the 35th Anniversary team by Vasser, AJ Allmendinger, Claude Bourbonnais, Bill Brack, Patrick Carpentier, Mark Dismore, David Empringham, and legendary French-Canadian racing brothers Jacques and Gilles Villeneuve. Fogarty and Vasser are among four Americans on the team while Brack, Bourbonnais, Carpentier, Empringham, and the Villeneuves represent the strength and support Canada has shown for Atlantic in the last 35 years.
"I am truly honored to be among this special group of drivers and to be part of the 35th anniversary celebration of the Atlantic Championship," Fogarty said. "My days in Atlantic were among the most enjoyable, rewarding and competitive of my career. I not only won my first national championships, I also began many lasting friendships and relationships that continue to this day, including with my friend and current teammate Alex, David Empringham and our Chief Engineer at GAINSCO, Kyle Brannan."
While Fogarty initially planned to attend the 35th Anniversary event, he and his wife Sara will instead mark the occasion with the birth of their second child on Thursday back home in Bend, Oregon. The couple's newborn will join two-year-old brother William in the Fogarty household.
"Sara and I are looking forward to our new addition, but the timing didn't really work out for the Atlantic event," Fogarty said. "Maybe we can bring the whole family to the 40th Anniversary celebration in a few years."
In his years in Atlantic, Fogarty teamed with Gurney for a season as drivers at Dorricott Racing. He also competed against such other notables as Michael Valiante, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ryan Dalziel, Danica Patrick and Luis Diaz. In addition to the pair of championships, Fogarty's career Atlantic record includes eight wins and 10 poles.
After graduating from Atlantic, Fogarty and Gurney later joined forces again at GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. After a partial first season together in 2006, the duo joined with the team to win the 2007 Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships. They took second in both championships this year, concluding the season just two weeks ago at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.
GAINSCO team owner Bob Stallings has also been successful in Atlantic competition. The Atlantic formula is popular in the amateur ranks around the world and Stallings was the 2004 Formula Atlantic SCCA Champion in the annual Run Offs, the most prestigious amateur racing championships in the United States.