GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing starts fifth in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami after qualifying rain out
GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, and drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, will start fifth in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Miami in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette Daytona Prototype after heavy rain washed out Saturday’s scheduled qualifying session at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Grand Prix of Miami, a timed 2-3/4-hour sprint race, can be seen live on SPEED this Sunday, April 29, at 1 p.m. EDT/10 a.m. PDT.
Grid positions for the race were determined by GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series team point standings. The No. 99 GAINSCO “Red Dragon” will lineup on the inside of row three based on its fifth-place ranking in the team championship standings with 50 points.“I think we’ll start fifth because that’s our points position,” Fogarty said. “It is a little further back than what we’re used to and where we could have been. Since we had a solid finish of second at Barber, we picked up some additional points, which helped put us further up on the grid. Had the conditions been different today, I’m pretty sure we would have been higher.”Although official qualifying was scrubbed because of the heavy showers, Gurney and Fogarty both took to the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami road course in wet conditions during Saturday’s practice sessions. Similar wet conditions are in the forecast for Sunday.“I don’t believe there is much of an advantage to run in the wet here,” Fogarty said. “This place doesn’t drain well, so there are a lot of issues with puddling, it makes it quite precarious, but it will be the same for everybody. We’ve had a handful of laps today in mixed conditions and we’re just trying to get a handle on what this track is like in the wet.”An upside of the rain is that some of the pressure top teams like GAINSCO have felt this weekend in having to conserve tires may no longer be an issue. GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series rules limit all-pro teams like GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, with championship-winning professional drivers like Gurney and Fogarty, to just five sets of tires a race weekend. With qualifying canceled, GAINSCO has enough new tires left to go the distance in the Grand Prix of Miami, rain or shine.“We have basically another dry set of tires because we did not run qualifying, so that’s going to alleviate some pressure, even if it rains or not the whole race,” Gurney said. “It is going to be an interesting race in the wet, if it turns out that way. There’s some puddling areas, turn one and the hairpin, I’m not sure how the series wants to deal with that at the moment. I did get to run two laps in that last practice session in the pretty heavy rain.”
A GRAND-AM Rolex Series Daytona Prototype race has never been run in full rain at Homestead-Miami Speedway.“We haven’t run here before in the rain and it is going to be interesting in the wet,” Fogarty said. “Running on a banked oval in the rain is not the norm. It is definitely going to put a lot of demand on the wet tires, but you need the wet tires for the infield. It is going to mix-up strategy, it won’t be a straight-forward event, but I think we’re prepared for that and we’re getting our car sorted.”Race-day Sunday begins with a 30-minute final practice session at 10 a.m. before the Grand Prix of Miami is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. local time.Noteworthy- Although GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing clinched its second GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Championship at Homestead in 2009, finished third in the 2010 race, and won the pole last year and in 2009, the team has yet to win a race on the challenging 2.3-mile Homestead road course. The six-year winless streak at Homestead-Miami is GAINSCO’s longest at any track on the GRAND-AM Rolex Series circuit.